Posted on May 27, 2020
By the time World War II ended in 1945, the United States had established itself as a global force on many fronts, including the metalwork industry. That surge of momentum spilled over into a new decade, as the midway point of the 20th century saw the introduction of new machinery and applications.
Below, we’ll dive into what you need to know about 1950s metalwork. This is a continuation of our ongoing series, which started with Metalwork in the 1920s and continued with Metalwork in the 1930s and Metalwork in the 1940s.
1950s trends and developments
The days of manually controlling machines came to an end in the 1950s. Numerical control, later called computer numerical control (CNC) when computers entered the fold, served as the beginning stages of a revolutionary movement.
General Electric created numerical controls that used magnetic tape to record the motions operators made. The company repeated this process to duplicate parts. Today, we use this process at Coco Architectural during our laser cutting process. Once we design an AutoCAD file, there’s an offline software that programs the CAD file to create the G-Code and run the machine.
Gas metal arc welding debuted in this decade as a way to weld on traditionally non-ferrous materials. Manufacturers also introduced the short-circuiting application method that allowed you to use thinner materials for welds.
Many of the steel factories that blossomed in the 1940s during World War II looked for a way to serve customers inside the homes. Steel kitchen cabinets, which were already common in the 1940s, become more mainstream. They came in all shapes and sizes, even pastel colors.
The supply made them more affordable, and Americans had more money to spend after the war. These cabinets would eventually fade in the 1960s when cheaper, more durable materials became available — steel lasted long, but it was prone to denting and rusting.
Aluminum, meanwhile, helped support new designs for washers and dryers, and Coors Brewing Company introduced the aluminum can in 1959 as a way to improve packaging and encourage recycling.
Korean War impact
The American steel boom that skyrocketed in the 1940s continued during this decade. Steel manufactured in our homeland accounted for 40% of the world's steel.
Similar to how the 1940s created a need for increased metalwork to support the World War II cause, the same held true in the 1950s for the Korean War. The focus shifted from consumer goods production to various military weaponry and equipment.
As this happened, steel unions quickly recognized their importance and pushed for wage increases. When negotiations stalled, the unions threatened to strike and ultimately walked out for 53 days until coming to a resolution.
Some countries used tungsten to make projectile missiles during WWII, but tungsten became scarce since Korea was a major supplier. As an alternative, manufactures developed a new composition material of titanium carbide, molybdenum caribe and nickel.
Metalwork in architectural design
Various metals, such as aluminum and steel, continued to dominate architectural design during this decade. One of the more notable structures erected had military ties. The U.S. Air Force Academy was built using 2,500 tons of aluminum during the construction process. The most recognizable piece of architecture from the project was a group of 17 successive aluminum spires with 100 tetrahedrons in each structure.
By the 1950s, the use of anodized aluminum spiked due to its corrosion-resistant properties and ability to add color to the otherwise dull aluminum. Around the same time, contractors used aluminum siding with a baked-on finish in commercial architecture such as the Alcoa Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A curtain wall constructed with aluminum sheets helped save costs. The exterior received an anodized coating for protection.
While steel continued with its strong hold on the metal industry, copper-bearing steels grew in popularity thanks to corrosive-resistant properties from a protective oxide coating. Architects and builders used this metal in culverts and railroad grain cars.
In other metalwork uses, renowned architect Buckminster Fuller made geodesic domes popular in the 1940s with his use of aluminum to hold glass panels together. In the 1950s, he constructed the first geodesic dome with aluminum and plastic.
Many of these trends and metal uses still exist today, so contact us if you’re feeling inspired to start a custom metal grille project of your own. We offer linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles or custom metal products, and we’re eager to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.
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Posted on May 8, 2020
As our country continues the fight against the coronavirus, businesses, health care providers, and even homebound DIYers are turning to a familiar printing method that manufacturers have used for decades.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is making headlines as a means to help hospitals and health care workers who are experiencing a shortage of medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic.
With more than a million confirmed cases in the United States, demand for this equipment is at an all-time high and has put a strain on the supply chain. 3D printing has limitations and may not be a long-term solution, but we’ll explain how it has served as an interim stop-gap with initiatives around the world.
3D printing refresher course
The 3D printing process uses a computer-aided design (CAD) to create a solid, three-dimensional object. A 3D printer shapes and molds materials through layering, mainly steel or plastic, to achieve the design, size and structure set forth by a digitally formatted design.
Over the years, 3D printers have decreased in cost and increased in speed and effectiveness. The process of 3D printing generally takes four to 18 hours to complete. This is why you’re seeing 3D printing take off and why it's one of the top architectural trends for 2020. A recent report from Wholers predicted that number to reach $15.8 billion in 2020.
Out of necessity due to the coronavirus, 3D printing has exploded because you can brainstorm an idea, come up with a design and create a prototype within hours.
3D nasal swabs
Two problems became clear once the U.S. felt the coronavirus impact: the need for testing and the need for a treatment option. As widespread testing ramped up around the country, demand for nasal swabs swelled.
For background, the same cotton swabs you’ll find in your bathroom aren’t meant for diagnosing COVID-19. The test uses long nasopharyngeal swabs — this explains why many patients complain about the discomfort associated with the tests — to collect samples from your nasal cavity and upper respiratory tract.
In the months since shortages became evident, a consortium of business and medical institutions joined forces to bolster swab production. Together, they’re capable of manufacturing 4 million 3D printed swabs per week.
Elsewhere, Origin created a swab design that completed a Phase III clinical trial and received validation from Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The 3D printing company hopes to produce 190,000 swabs per day.
In April, a joint effort from the University of South Florida Health and New York-based health care provider Northwell Health helped design nasal swabs for mass production. They enlisted Boston-based Formlabs to help with manufacturing, using 3D printing and resins to form the swab. The company can produce as many as 300 swabs during a single print and hopes to increase production to 100,000 swabs per day.
HP Inc., which many know for its computers and laptops, helped manufacture nasal swabs via 3D printing. It took two days for the HP team to design, print, and ship the nylon swabs for clinical testing. The swab, built with a handle, flexible neck, and a tip, measures 15 centimeters. Once it received validation, HP moved on to the next step of working how to mass produce it.
Bridging the PPE gap
By March, hospitalizations spiked across the country, and the need for PPE increased by the day. Doctors and nurses were running out of masks, face shields, and other medical supplies to protect themselves and patients against the coronavirus. Meanwhile, ventilators, a needed piece of equipment to help severely ill patients breath, became scarce.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned 3D-printed PPE can provide a physical barrier, but it doesn’t protect you from fluids and other airborne particles like some masks and N95 respirators do. Still, large companies and small local businesses around the country used their own expertise in 3D printing to provide much-needed resources to those in need.
Some companies have designed 3D printing ventilator connectors, a Y-shaped device that allows multiple tubes to run from one ventilator, thus doubling the access to other patients. Through 3D printing technology, Prisma Health developed VESper, a ventilator expansion device that doesn’t impact patients connected to the same machine. It also filters bacteria and viruses in the tubing. The FDA provided Prisma with an Emergency Use Authorization, and Ethicon Inc. is distributing the device to health care providers at no cost.
Many companies unaffiliated with 3D printing for health care supplies have switched gears to help meet demand. For example, popular car manufacturer Volkswagen announced it was using 125 industrial 3D printers to produce ventilators and medical devices. Ferrari, an automaker known for its luxury vehicles, used its 3D printing capabilities to make valves that turn snorkel masks into respirators.
SmileDirectClub, a teledentistry company based in Nashville, Tennessee, began using its 3D print manufacturing capabilities to make face shields and other PPE for health care and government organizations. SmileDirectClub can produce 7,500 face shields per day.
In Florida, a 3D printing company that typically specializes in building drones helped start the American Mask Rally to provide reusable face masks to health care workers.
HP has produced more than 150,000 parts for medical applications. The company has designed face shields, masks, mask adjusters, wrist covers, ventilator components and hands-free door openers (more on that later).
With so many companies eager to help, several federal organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, teamed up to form a 3D print exchange where you’ll find hundreds of designs reviewed for clinical use. The options include face shields, face masks, and surgical mask bands to improve comfort during long shifts.
Creating a safer environment
One of the most concerning aspects of the coronavirus is how easily it can spread from person to person through air droplets or when touching contaminated surfaces. Researchers learned the coronavirus can live on certain surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This is why hand washing and proper cleaning techniques are essential.
Surfaces, such as door handles, elevator buttons, and railings, can become contaminated in high-traffic areas where thousands of people touch them each day. As a result, companies incorporated 3D printing to make plastic door openers you can operate with your arms.
European 3D printing company Materialise created a hands-free door opener, where you place your arm in a plastic clasp to prevent your hands and fingers from touching door knobs. The company then provided the design for free and encouraged others to produce the door opener.
The simple design is easy to install over your existing door handle with four screws and four nuts. After downloading the design, the company encourages you to customize it to your liking for business or personal use. You can adjust the shape, width, screw type, and handle sizes.
BCN3D, a 3D printing company in Spain, tweaked Materialise’s design and created a hands-free door opener that uses just three cable ties to secure it to an existing handle.
Materialise also used 3D printing to create a hands-free shopping cart handle. Instead of using your hands to push a cart, a simple screw-on plastic device allows you to handle and steer the cart with your arms. Grocery store employees would still have to wipe down carts, but these handles would limit the spread of the coronavirus by avoiding a contaminated surface that you could touch and transfer to your face. Or, as signs on European shopping carts read, “do less harm, use your arm.”
As we start to return to our normal lives, contact us if you’re inspired to start a custom metal grille project. You can browse our product catalog or request a quote for more information.
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Posted on April 7, 2020
The coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak has the entire world wondering how safe we are and what precautions you can take, at home or in public, to limit the rapid spread of this disease.
We’ve all heard about social distancing and constantly washing your hands, but it’s also important to keep your surfaces clean. Since Coco Architectural specializes in metalwork, we thought it’d be useful to delve into the best ways to keep your metal surfaces or objects clean during this time.
Other than high-traffic areas that you may wipe down more frequently, you’re probably used to cleaning your household metals a few times a week or month as part of your typical routine — in the past, we’ve recommended cleaning your metal grilles at least once a month and biannual deep cleanings with warm water and dish soap. The current events have unfortunately altered our typical routines, and it’s best you use precautions to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your community.
How long can coronavirus live on surfaces?
SARS-CoV-2, the specific name of the coronavirus that is affecting the world, can have a long shelf life when it comes to surviving on surfaces. A public health specialist at Johns Hopkins said the virus can linger on surfaces anywhere from two hours to nine days. Why such a disparity? Without getting too scientific, this type of coronavirus has a fragile outer makeup, meaning it’s less stable and is easily affected when hand-washing, cleaning and disinfecting occurs.
Since the outbreak began, the National Institutes of Health, along with other medical and health organizations, studied how long the coronavirus could live on certain surfaces. Research showed aerosols could exist for up to three hours, while SARS-CoV-2 could pose a threat on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to two to three days.
They conducted these tests in a lab setting, which doesn’t account for how the coronavirus would interact in nature. For example, a Johns Hopkins article explained how trace amounts may only remain after the aforementioned allotment of time. For example, the coronavirus could linger on stainless steel for 72 hours, but the remaining amount is unlikely to cause an infection since it’s weak and fragile. In fact, the coronavirus half-life on stainless steel was 5.6 hours, meaning it was 50% less stable after nearly six hours.
If you’re wondering why there’s such a large gap between copper and stainless steel, their antimicrobial properties come into play. This article goes into detail of how copper has been one of the best antimicrobials around for thousands of years.
Copper and brass act as a self-sterilizing agent and can kill germs, bacteria and viruses within minutes and become undetectable in hours. In comparison, stainless steel doesn’t provide the same benefits, so you’ll want to clean those surfaces with more frequency.
Disinfecting and cleaning your surfaces
Keeping your surfaces clean with regularity is a good way to prevent germs, bacteria and viruses from causing health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning surfaces with a detergent or soap and water before using a disinfectant.
Soap and water may sound basic, but that process, at the very least, can help disrupt the coronavirus’ genetic makeup since it’s fragile. In other words, this process alone can help get rid of the virus. From there, the CDC then recommends cleaning your surfaces with diluted bleach, a 70% alcohol solution, or an EPA-registered disinfectant. This Environmental Protection Agency resource lists disinfectants you can use against the coronavirus.
But, for the sake of our conversation, it’s important to know that some cleaners, such as bleach or vinegar-based solutions, can damage metal finishes or corrode them over time. So while short-term use may not have much of an impact on these hard surfaces, you should avoid long-term use of bleach to clean high-traffic metal surfaces such as chrome faucets or stainless steel countertops, appliances or cabinets.
Alkaline- or acidic-based cleaners can corrode metals. If you’re out shopping, look for neutral pH detergents. They contain enzymes and are non-corrosive when interacting with many metals, ranging from stainless steel to more reactive metals such as aluminum. Glutaraldehyde, commonly used to sterilize hospital instruments and equipment, is a popular neutral pH detergent.
Consumer Reports provided tips on household products that can destroy the coronavirus. As an alternative, alcohol solutions (use at least 70% alcohol) are an effective way to disinfect metal surfaces from the coronavirus. Let it sit for at least 30 seconds before wiping it dry.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide — the same product you used as a child to clean scrapes and cuts — on some metal surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide produces water and oxygen when it breaks down, so it’s useful with a sprayer to reach nooks and crannies of your metal surfaces. This study from the CDC found 7.5% hydrogen peroxide solutions can corrode brass, copper and zinc and cause discoloration in objects with black anodized metal finishes.
To be safe, wash any cleaning rags with detergent on a warm setting. Using gloves when handling disinfectants is always recommended.
Cleaning specific types of metals
Metals have various properties that can interact with different chemical agents, so it’s important to provide further details when cleaning specific types of surfaces. This handy blog explains how you can use pantry items to clean metals. Store these helpful hints away to clean and maintain your metals, even when the coronavirus isn’t a threat.
Grab a rag and scrub any aluminum surfaces or objects with warm water and dish soap. This is a good way to disrupt any viruses and remove grease. You can also use a lemon dipped in salt to rub surfaces with. A rag with a vinegar-based spray can do the trick, too.
You should avoid leaving anything too acidic on aluminum for a long period of time. Don’t use baking soda, as it can spoil aluminum.
Soap and water work well here. Be sure to quickly dry off any surfaces. As mentioned above, you can also use lemon dipped in salt to act as a natural abrasive.
Try mixing a tablespoon each of flour, salt and vinegar to clean brass or bronze. Use this paste on a damp cloth, wipe it away, and buff it dry. You may not think of ketchup as a cleaner, but its acidic nature can help clean brass, bronze and copper.
Aside from soap and water, vinegar can help remove germs and any residue that may linger on your faucets or handles. Avoid any prolonged soaking or exposure to vinegar, though, since chrome is a soft metal. You can also use toothpaste on a damp cloth. Buff it dry after wiping the toothpaste off.
The same paste to clean brass also applies to copper. Apply the mixture and let it sit up to an hour. Rinse it off with water and buff dry with a soft cloth.
Some of your items may not be true copper and, instead, are copper plated. How will you know? Place a small amount of white vinegar and baking soda on the copper. There isn’t a protective layer if your object or surface turns bright. In this case, wash with soap and water.
Mix dish soap and warm water in a bowl and let your gold items soak for 15 minutes. Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas. Rinse and dry the gold well.
Wash your surface with soap and water. For silver items, you can place them in a tin foil-lined pot with water and baking soda. Bring the water to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, and add your silver items to remove the sulfur.
Stainless steel is hard to clean as these surfaces can leave streaks or fingerprints. Stainless steel cleaners are popular options. If you’re looking for a home remedy, use dish soap and water. Alcohol solutions can both disinfect and help act as a degreaser.
You can mix baking soda and water to help remove difficult stains. Try this method out first as the baking soda can act as an abrasive. Avoid using vinegar on stainless steel as the acidic properties can corrode the metal.
Once we all can return to our normal lives, contact us if you’re inspired to start a custom metal grille project. You can browse our product catalog or request a quote for more information. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and follow your local and state health department guidelines and mandates.
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Posted on March 12, 2020
Take a gander at any World War II movie, documentary, book, or magazine article, and you’ll be reminded of the sheer scope. More than 50 countries participated in an expansive battle that featured more than 100 million soldiers. In total, it was the most expensive war in United States history.
WWII’s historical relevance makes for one of the most famous events of the 20th century. It also carried significant meaning as part of an important decade for many notable industries. The 1940s were a time when metalwork spiked and witnessed vast growth, thanks in large part to WWII. Below, we’ll dive into various 1940s metalwork trends and developments and provide examples of notable works. This is a continuation of our ongoing series, which started with Metalwork in the 1920s and continued with Metalwork in the 1930s.
1940s trends and developments
By the 1940s, stainless steel and aluminum became more popular, cost-effective options. WWII helped take this trend to another level.
In 1941, the Lend-Lease Act went into effect, allowing the U.S. government to send food, materials and equipment to the Allied Nations. In terms of its effect on metal production, the act sent more than 30,000 planes, more than 26,000 tanks and more than 600,000 military vehicles to countries in need of assistance.
Manufacturers built tanks and ships out of steel. They used tons of it, too. In fact, a single tank weighed at least 20 tons. Battleships were constructed with hundreds of tons of steel. Aluminum was featured prominently in aircraft frames and ship infrastructure. The first half of the 1940s saw the U.S. produce 296,000 aircrafts. More than half of the planes used aluminum as one of the main components.
Metal helped change the munitions landscape, too. The Germans used tungsten carbide core in projectile missiles. These deadly weapons could pierce armor, including tanks. Tungsten has the highest melting point of all metals and is known for its strength and durability.
By the time we progressed to the back half of the decade, domestic steel mills produced more than half the world’s steel. Why? Foreign steel mills were among the many war casualties. Countries, regions and cities were wiped out and needed access to steel to eventually rebuild. Once the war ended, manufacturing increased because the nation wanted consumer goods. The automotive industry grew as new machinery was used in production.
Not everything was war-related, though. In 1948, ductile iron was developed by adding magnesium to produce a spheroidal graphite structure. The shape provides added strength and flexibility. A year later, the shell process was discovered by the U.S.. With this method, you cast metal using a resin-covered sand to form a mold.
Navigating a metal shortage
As metalwork production surged to help fight the war overseas, the U.S. War Production Board in 1942 called for a reduction of metal used in packaging consumer goods. Many manufacturers quickly shifted from consumer goods to war products. For example, Ford and General Motors were known for mass producing automobiles, but they pivoted to building aircrafts during this time. They also manufactured tanks, guns and shells.
There was such a demand for metal that Americans were encouraged to recycle their scrap aluminum. As an incentive, free movie tickets were offered in exchange for tinfoil balls. Cities around the country held scrap metal drives where Americans would offer up anything from old license plates to bicycles and everything in between. To give you an idea of what a scrap metal drive may entail, St. Louis held its first drive in 1942 and collected 7,658 tons in less than two weeks, good enough to produce 230 Sherman tanks.
Manufacturers used copper for firearm ammunition and other equipment. A shortage ensued because large amounts of copper were used. The United States Mint in 1943 used zinc-coated steel, instead of copper and nickel, for one-cent coins to avoid any potential shortfalls. The one-off coins were 13% lighter and magnetic. Prior to production, an error occurred when a small amount of copper discs were left in the press machine. Several dozen copper coins were stuck, making it a sought after collector’s item.
The U.S. had to rely on several metal imports during the war as our country’s supply fell short. Earlier in the decade, domestic copper production reached more than 1 million tons, but witnessed a sharp decrease to 800,000 tons by 1945. Likewise, zinc fell from 770,000 tons to 620,000 tons during that same period. Nickel was among the most imported metals in the mid-1940s, as more than 75% came from outside the U.S.
Metalwork in architectural design
Compared to the 1930s, when several notable historic buildings and landmarks were constructed, the 1940s weren’t as active — at least in the first half of the decade. As we explained above, the war had everything to do with this.
There were still some examples of how metalwork helped shape architectural design. Steel cabinets were a part of metal interior design trends in the 1930s, although that dissipated in the 1940s due to metal rationing that became prevalent with WWII. Aluminum windows first appeared in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until the 1930s and 1940s that they became popular choices in buildings and higher-end designs. Anodized finishes on aluminum windows showed up on naval aircrafts.
In 1940, a stainless steel overdoor panel debuted above the Associated Press building in the iconic Rockefeller Center. The 22-by-17 panel was the first piece of heroic sculpture ever cast in stainless steel. This era also produced notable designs from architect Buckminster Fuller. He made geodesic domes popular by constructing them with glass panels held together with aluminum tubing as the frame.
Toward the end of the decade, stainless steel and chrome made its way into the food scene as a prominent aspect of diners. Not only were the designs new, but diners spiked in popularity out of necessity to feed hungry servicemen who returned from the war.
Additionally, modernism became more widespread. The way we think of metals changed, as they were offered in different textures, patterns and colors. Prior to the war, textured sheet metal became a popular interior and exterior use thanks to its strength and elimination of surface reflections. Since aluminum became so popular during WWII, architects found ways to incorporate it into designs. The Equitable Savings and Loan Building in 1948 featured aluminum panels.
Many of these trends and metal uses exist today, so contact us if you’re feeling inspired to start a custom metal grille project of your own. We offer linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles or custom metal products, and we’re eager to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.
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Posted on February 12, 2020
In a current architectural craze of sustainable measures and repurposing structures, it makes sense that the proper treatment of historical buildings has become more of a focal point. The concept of reusing aspects of buildings is simple — recycling materials is more eco-friendly than new construction that burns through countless hours of machinery to create new products.
With that in mind, we turned our attention to metalwork, and the role it plays in repurposing historic works. While you can use this information as a guide to your own DIY projects, the federal government has written standards when it comes to dedicated historic properties.
As part of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the United States Department of the Interior formulated an in-depth document called the Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. These guidelines cover four sections: preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and reconstruction. Restoration and reconstruction are more invasive, while preservation and rehabilitation focus more on maintenance and protection.
The standards and recommendations canvas a broad spectrum, from types of materials to safety measures and special instructions to consider. For this exercise, we’ll zero in on the role metalwork has played in architecture and how we can help preserve its relevance in historic buildings.
Types of metal used in historic architecture
You’ll find nearly a dozen types of metals associated with historic architecture, ranging from copper and bronze to aluminum and stainless steel.
For starters, you’re likely familiar with wrought iron for its usage in fences and railings. This use of iron became more prominent in the 19th century with columns, structures and other interior designs. Today, we know cast iron for its role in cookware like skillets and dutch ovens. Warehouse and industrial buildings began displaying cast iron columns in the 1800s.
As we outlined in this blog post on metalwork in the 1930s, steel was a common use for skyscrapers and other notable buildings. Stainless steel picked up steam in the 1920s as a notable fixture in Art Deco-style buildings.
Architects used lead, combined with a tin coating, as a roofing material in historic buildings. It was later mixed with zinc to add custom finishes to roofs. Prior to that, buildings used copper for roofs. Bronze and brass, two offsprings of copper, helped add finishing touches to buildings. These metals contain few traces of iron and are ideal for exterior projects since they share corrosion-resistant properties. Eventually, these metals became components of interior design, whether as kitchen fixtures or knob handles.
Aluminium became more popular for exterior uses, especially siding, thanks to weather-resistant properties. Architects used aluminium siding in the 1920s and 1930s as part of the Art Deco movement before it became a more common household item in the 1940s after World War II.
Historic preservation of metalwork
The focus here is on sustaining, maintaining and protecting the original metalwork. Ideally, you achieve this through existing metalwork instead of introducing new materials. You can use repairs or limited replacement as long as they feature the same design, color and texture of the original metalwork.
You shouldn’t alter or outright replace metals, as this will diminish the character. Instead, fix any issues with repairs. The only additions that apply come outside of metalwork. For example, when preserving a building, you can perform electrical and plumbing work to keep the building up to code (or to make it more energy efficient).
Stabilization is key before you begin a project. Some metals can deteriorate or react differently as part of the preservation process. As part of the protection (maintenance) step, it’s important to treat metals with care prior to any repairs. This helps you avoid any further damage. An easy solution is to fix leaky roofs and ensure areas have proper drainage. Any unwanted moisture can cause corrosion in metals.
Clean soft metals (lead, copper and zinc) with non-corrosive chemicals to preserve their integrity. You can use minimally invasive abrasives for sturdier metals like cast iron and steel. Once treated, it may be beneficial to introduce a protective coating to prevent further erosion and deterioration.
In this stage, you should only carefully consider replacing metals after you protect, stabilize and repair. Additionally, you should establish surviving prototypes or physical evidence before replacement metals. Ideally, the new project will be an exact copy of the old work, all the way down to the design, color and finish.
Historic rehabilitation of metalwork
Many of the same concepts and precautions of preservation apply to rehabilitation, although you have more leeway. You want to prioritize protecting and maintaining metalwork. Try repairing metals instead of outright replacing them. But, in the event you need to replace something, rehabilitation guidelines allow you to construct a new addition. For example, you can replace a disheveled, leaky roof as long as the character and historical appearance goes unchanged.
Protection is key here, especially since rehabilitating historic buildings generally requires the most work of the four. You can use historic documentation to replace metal structures when they become too rundown. It’s safe to use alternative metals if the existing metal isn’t feasible.
You can implement a new design as long as it meshes with the size, scale, material and color of the historic building. Even with the leeway and flexibility, you still need to account for design compatibility and the way in which the metalwork coexists with other features on the building.
Historic restoration of metalwork
Using this method, you bring back to life metals of a certain time period. Instead of replacing items, you should first attempt to repair metal features. In some cases, metalwork from a particular era may be too deteriorated to repair. When this occurs, you can replace metals so they resemble that period or you can match them with a comparable material to that of the original. It’s important to remove features from other periods that could cause confusion and avoid replacing metals with other materials that don’t match that particular era.
Whereas other historic methods shy away from recreating features or objects, this is a popular option when using historic restoration. You can add to a building by creating a feature that was present during that particular era. This doesn’t apply to metalwork that was part of the original design but was never physically constructed.
Historic reconstruction of metalwork
If a historic building's metalwork no longer exists and you need to rebuild, use reconstruction — though this is the least popular method of maintaining historic buildings. You need detailed documentation for a reconstruction, which makes it difficult to pull off, since many buildings lack physical evidence to base such a large undertaking on.
Metalwork reconstruction is rarely carried out in totality. In other words, you wouldn’t reconstruct an entire building with key metalwork features. Instead, you could justify, with proper documentation, reconstructing parts of the exterior, while the interior isn’t modeled after any historic significance.
You can use substitute materials if the general appearance stays the same. Interior fixtures should remain intact. That means reconstruction of brass or bronze fixtures should match historical appearance in design color and texture.
Using Coco for your renovation project
Whether you’re replacing elements of a room or you’re looking to add features to an existing design, we have several ways to implement metal grilles into your historic projects.
This is a popular use for historic renovation projects, as it displays Gothic architecture of the High and Late Middle Ages. This pattern presents 56% free air as part of the ventilation.
We use this for contemporary builds and historic renovation projects. The pattern is available in three standard sizes with differing free air percentages ranging from 39 to 5%.
The Art Deco movement in the 1920s featured design like this majestic grille. The pattern is available in three sizes with air percentages ranging from 54 to 6%.
While we use this for commercial and high-end residential projects, this blends well with historic projects. It comes in three sizes with free air percentages ranging from 20 to 35%.
This popular square design is uniform yet versatile. It comes in three sizes and free air percentages range from 25 to 64%.
Contact us today if you’re feeling inspired to start a custom metal grille project of your own. We offer linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles or custom metal products, and we’re eager to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.
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Posted on February 12, 2020
Architecture is best viewed as a revolving door. Yes, there are time-tested elements and principles that still exist after centuries of change. But, that doesn’t mean old trends don’t evolve and gain traction as innovative design principles.
Trends change by the year, producing new, creative developments along the way. As we ushered out yet another decade and entered 2020, we revisited some of the top 2019 highlights and compiled a few notable areas to keep an eye on for the upcoming year.
Revisiting 2019 trends
By now, you’ve likely seen the forward-thinking approach of smaller, more environmentally sound designs when it comes to commercial or residential buildings. There are even television shows that feature couples or families living in tiny houses and, in some cases, refurbished shipping containers.
This lines up with an eco-friendly movement that picked up steam in 2019. Many Americans are frequently more interested in downsizing, trading in their sprawling houses in the outskirts for smaller, hip buildings that are in chic, walking neighborhoods.
More and more buildings are using recycled materials and waste products to better the environment. This ranges from tree bark serving as siding on a house and wood pallets from shipping companies used for house foundations. Even materials are becoming more complex. This article from Architect Magazine highlighted things like reduced-carbon concrete and carbon-eating plastic as new developments in architecture.
Many of these eco-friendly trends align with degrowth, an economic model based on reducing energy and materials. What does that mean for architecture? Reusing and refurbishing existing structures as opposed to building new ones.
Looking ahead to 2020
When discussing the future of metalwork, we explored 3D metal printing and how it has evolved.
As a refresher, this process shapes, cuts and molds the metal to achieve the design, size and structure set forth by a digitally formatted design.
The process of 3D printing uses layers and generally takes four to 18 hours to complete. You’ll find many 3D objects made with plastic, but metal is also a common material.
A few years ago, experts predicted the global 3D printing market would reach $8.7 billion by 2020. A recent report from Wholers predicted that number to reach $15.8 billion in 2020. Advancements in additive manufacturing technology created these heightened expectations.
Aside from typical uses (robotics and design), 3D printing is starting to show up in new fields and products like cars, buses and medical devices. Hearing aids, and various other custom shapes, use 3D printing as part of the manufacturing process.
Zero energy buildings
We touched earlier on how 2019 included several environmental trends. Well, the same theme is likely to continue for 2020.
During the past few years, the term net energy consumption has become more popular. The concept is simple: constructing and designing buildings to produce net zero energy. In other words, the building produces as much renewable energy as it uses on an annual basis. The point is to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
Zero energy buildings focus on energy efficiency and proper insulation to achieve a carbon-free building. It uses insulated windows and doors, proper sealing in buildings, improved ventilation systems, energy efficient lighting and energy efficient heating and cooling systems.
Passive solar building design is a staple of zero energy buildings. This process uses specific construction and design techniques to collect and reflect solar energy. That could mean passive solar heat gain in the winter or shading during the hot summer months in warmer climates.
To achieve zero net energy, it starts with the proper site selection and knowing how the climate you’re in will affect the energy consumption in that particular building. Architects use energy modeling software to create net zero buildings.
Why is this trend so important? Studies show 40% of greenhouse gases come from carbon emitted by buildings. This pledge from the American Institute of Architects about climate change features a five-step initiative focused on things like preparing architects to strive for a zero-carbon environment, changing building codes and guidelines and partnering with policymakers to address climate change.
California is one of the leading states for zero energy buildings. The state’s strategic plan will require zero net energy for residential construction by 2020 and commercial construction by 2030.
Modern industrial design found its way into 2019, and that trend could continue in 2020. These elements include open floor plans, dramatic lighting, exposed brick, metal finishes and sturdy flooring like concrete or hardwood.
Wood and metal are key components of modern industrial design, which makes for a perfect time to incorporate custom metalwork into your living spaces. We have experience in upgrading kitchens using HVAC grilles or custom grille borders. Additionally, we can produce residential or commercial items such as ornamental trim, railings, handles and pulls and column covers to boost the appearance of your modern industrial design elements.
We can help you start your own custom metalwork project. Contact us at 631.482.9449 or email@example.com. If you’re in need of some inspiration, feel free to take a look at our extensive Grille and Metalwork catalog.
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