7 Occasions Metal Blurs Lines Between Art And Architecture

September 27, 2016

Metal can be perforated, woven, etched, wrapped, and hung to create elaborate facades that bridge two worlds between art and architecture. From ornate, custom facades to striking sculptures, the material blends elements of design and functionality seamlessly.

Project: Sipopo Congress Center

Architect: Tabanlioglu Architects

A special gray-bronze mesh envelops the Sipopo Congress Center in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Tabanlioglu Architects designed the glass and metal two-story building to allow views from within to the surrounding ocean and woods while simultaneously blending into the scenic landscape. Metal strips are placed at varying angles to produce the mesh façade creating a pleasing asymmetrical pattern. The bronze mesh grants a shady interior by day and a glimmering scene by night to communicate with the forest and ocean.

Big Bling

Artist: Martin Puryear

Set in Madison Square Park is a 40-foot-tall sculpture made of chain-link fencing and wood infrastructure titled “Big Bling.” The towering shape resembles a fictional creature perched with a golden U-shaped link bolted to its head.  Avant-garde in nature the artist, Martin Puryear, evokes meaning behind an attractive façade. The concealed meaning reveals itself through the name and represents a warning for those who worship money in the city financed by Wall Street. Perhaps the bolt and ring on the metal clad structure is a metaphor to what will happen if one values wealth above all else.

Rose Pavilion

Architect: Vasily Klyukin

Russian architect, Vasily Klyukin, designed his illuminated glass-and-steel bouquet to be a metaphorical gift of love to architecture. The color-changing sculpture known as, the “Rose Pavilion,” can make dozens of color combinations – including monochromatic displays. Not only do the roses change color, they give off an aroma of flowers thanks to an interior ventilation system. The aromatic design is meant to invite guests to pause long enough to smell the roses.

Ontario School of Art and Design

Design: Bortolotto

A delicate white veil of water-jet cut aluminum panels, designed by Toronto-based Bortolotto, frays like lace against a metal substructure. Secured by steel outriggers, the patterned façade peels away at the edges attracting guests to experience the colorful student artwork inside. The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, part of the Ontario School of Art and Design, is a multi-use student work and exhibit space that has been transformed with an interactive, intricately perforated exterior. Since the façade was created using mapping data about the Toronto’s artistic community, visitors are encouraged to snap a picture of the patterned material and interact with an app developed by the school’s Digital Media Research Lab. It’s part of an effort from the architects to engage the community through digital media and the built environment.

Project: City of Dreams

Architect: Zaha Hadid

A large metal grid wraps a 40-story luxury hotel in Cotai, Macau in the latest reveal by Zaha Hadid. The striking outer façade mimics a giant woven metal mesh on the monolithic sculpture. Views to the horizon are available through large organic voids of space creating the signature Hadid curves of the building. The façade creates a dramatic internal 100-foot high atrium among 780 guest rooms and suites.

Project: Arts Maebashi

Architect: Toshihiro Mizutani

Custom perforated metal skin converts a commercial facility into a public arts museum. The Arts Maebashi building is in Japan, undulating aluminum is part of a design effort to revitalize the cityscape by Toshihiro Mizutani Architects. The steel frame stacks the first floor of mainly glass and invites pedestrian flow to experience the exhibits on display. This interactivity connects the community and generates a level of civic pride for the Japanese city of Maebashi.

Project: Minnesota Transit Station

Architect: Aecom

Integrated artwork showcased on the Minnesota Transit Station by Nancy Blume makes a bold statement with cut stainless steel and metal mesh patterns and birds. The Philadelphia artist chose GKD Omega due to its flat front surface for her custom graphics. The etching on the metal fabric combined with the stainless steel birds represent immigrant communities migrating to the area. The etching requires no maintenance, is weather resistant, and has the added bonus of providing sunshading.

Architects and artists are provoked to play with light, illumination, and daylighting when choosing metal facades for their exquisite visualizations. From concept to creation, the metal is especially versatile and uniquely positioned to offer many benefits beyond glittering cloaks of armor against their burgeoning cityscapes.