As a company who specialise in aluminium glazing products, we understand the value of this material in construction and its … Continued

abg Windows and Doors Specialists

One of the UK’s leading architectural glass and glazing suppliers

How aluminium became the essential material for architects

As a company who specialise in aluminium glazing products, we understand the value of this material in construction and its advantages over competing materials such as PVC.

Our previous blog Fenestration: What is it and what are the benefits of using aluminium? outlines where we see our products in action within commercial settings, for example, curtain walling, windows and doors. The article also explores the benefits of aluminium as a material, in particular, identifying its strong, slim and lightweight characteristics that are the basis of its popularity.

Here, we take a look at the history of aluminium within construction and how it emerged as a popular and essential material for architects and contractors in revolutionizing modern architecture.

Origins of aluminium in construction

Initially, aluminium was not a desirable material in the construction world. It was very expensive to manufacture and was not produced in huge volumes. As architects often have to be mindful of costs and adhere to budgets, many opted for cheaper and more accessible materials for their projects.

The turning point for aluminium was when advancements in manufacturing, namely the introduction of the electrolysis process, led to a huge increase in production speed and volume. It’s estimated that the cost of aluminium was reduced by 80% as a result.

The material was then utilised in many aspects of building construction, including structural applications, as well as individual components like windows, doors and roofing.

The first iconic project that involved aluminium components was New York’s Empire State Building. This soaring skyscraper was completed in 1931 and is one of the most recognisable structures in the world. It was the tallest building at the time and remained so until 1970. This is a testament to aluminium’s best qualities as many architects then followed a similar approach.

Aluminium in today’s industry

Aluminium is now readily available across the globe and further advancements in production processes have allowed its best traits to be magnified. This has led to experimentation with gravity defying building forms that utilise aluminium, and buildings are now even taller and more energy efficient.

That is the main difference when discussing aluminium in today’s industry, as energy efficiency is at the forefront of architectural design and has to be incorporated into modern structures. “Green building” is becoming the emphasis for the whole industry, and aluminium is one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable construction materials due to its infinite recyclability. The material can be remelted into new aluminium products without loss of quality.  

Aluminium can be used universally in any climatic condition, and its extreme durability allows for a temperature range of –80 °C to +300 °C.

Take a look at our implementation of aluminium products in many fantastic projects here.