Stainless steel: future for architecture

The Lowry arts complex in Salford, UK, contains over 22,000 m2 of stainless steel manufactured by AvestaPolarit. Located at the heart of the city’s waterways on the redeveloped Salford Quays, the GBP 64 million building incorporates galleries, theatres, restaurants, bars and cafeteria. AvestaPolarit provided a wide range of grades and finishes to meet the precise specifications of the architects. In addition to its aesthetic benefits, stainless steel also offers an unrivalled combination of strength and corrosion resistance. High-strength grade Duplex 2304 was specified for the flat roofing because it provides excellent resistance to stress corrosion cracking and higher wear resistance. With a mixed austenitic/ferritic microstructure, consisting of 22-23% chromium and 4-5% nickel, it is an ideal choice for this application. Weight savings were achieved through permitted thickness reduction, without any loss in strength or performance. AvestaPolarit’s HyClad Matt Grade 316 stainless steel was chosen for the shingle panels of the main cladding and for the standing-seam roof coverings. Produced at the Company’s Panteg Plant in South Wales, HyClad is a practical range of textured stainless steel for cladding and roofing applications. Its versatility offers numerous design options with high levels of aesthetic appeal. The combination of Chromium, Nickel and molybdenum in HyClad Grade 316 enhances corrosion resistance whilst retaining excellent formability and weldability. The same grade 316, but with a polished finish was used for window framing and other architectural features, including the impressive entrance canopy. In addition, glass cladding of the exterior tower is shaded by fine polished Grade 316, perforated sheets, erected to give a dramatic spiral appearance.