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The architectural legacy of metal

Supplier: Locker Group
23 September, 2014

Throughout history, people have used a variety of materials for architectural construction.

From the mud huts of earlier civilisations, the brick used by ancient Egyptians and the concrete used extensively by the Romans, all the way to the timber and combinations of different masonry used today, people have found numerous architectural solutions in their different materials.

In this grand narrative of architecture, metal is a relative newcomer. Yet for over 200 years now, it has played an essential role in architectural products and construction, a role which industrial materials specialist Locker Group has been successfully utilising for more than half a century.

Metal architecture: a brief history

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "[t]he development of construction methods in iron and steel was the most important innovation in architecture since ancient times."

Before 1800, if metals were involved in architecture, they played a support role, being used for windows, roofs and doors or to bond masonry together.

Once adopted as a primary building material, metals such as these allowed builders to construct taller and stronger structures, helping to create such iconic landmarks as the Eiffel and Willis Towers – both the tallest man-made structures in the world at different times.

Steel in architecture was made most famous by the "Chicago school" of architecture, which pioneered the use of steel-frame construction and created breathtaking skyscrapers that astonished the world at the time.

A variety of other architectural contexts involved metal, too. Steel supports were used in utilitarian structures and products, such as bridges, and were often left exposed by their creators – not considering the appearance of these structures important, they elected to not cover the supports with masonry.

Inheritance of legacy

Locker Group's supplies a range of architectural products which owe much to this early trailblazing use of metal.

Due to scientific advances in metallurgy over the last several decades, designers, architects and builders now have access to a startling array of metals and metal products – something that is reflected in Locker Group's range.

Their extensive collection includes everything from perforated metal facades and metal sunscreens to woven wire screens and wire curtains. And unlike the early pioneering uses of metal for architectural purposes, these are not merely functional, utilitarian products – they're decorative, too, adding character to a structure.

Architectural benefits of metal

It's easy to see why metal took off as an architectural material and has become a staple product today. For one, it requires little to no maintenance, is light and easy to transport and is highly durable. If added protection is needed, whether due to the elements or other sources of damage, one can simply put on extra coating.

Not only that, its different variations in size, shape and colour make it a versatile material that can be used in a variety of contexts and locations.

All of this has allowed Locker Group to become a chief supplier of quality metal products throughout Australia.