Perforated metal can bring something powerful to your building project—an affordable, eye-catching aesthetic that many other building materials can’t match.
As a design element, perforated metal can be used to create unique patterns and surfaces; custom levels of transparency, visibility, and diffusion; and even shading and airflow—all while providing unparalleled durability and functionality.
As these three inspiring projects reveal, the use of perforated metal in the right situations produces an unexpected combination of practicality and modern flair.
Connecting Ballet and Community
What happens inside Ballet Memphis, the home of a dance school and nationally recognized professional ballet company, is all about movement. Local Memphis, Tenn., architect Archimania designed an engaging glass and metal façade featuring a unique perforated copper screen.
The theater is located in the historic Overton Square district, which inspired the use of natural copper, a metal used on many older homes in the area. Architect Todd Walker shares more about the vision for the façade: “We wanted to make the project dynamic and energized. The copper screen looks more solid during the day and perforated at night when lights are on behind it. Plus, the varying angles of the sun make the copper everchanging. And the natural patina process will change it over time as well. I think copper adds an element that may be more dynamic than any other metal material we have used.”
The corrugated, perforated copper metal panels are positioned along the street edge, nearly seven feet from the studio windows, creating a natural walkway. As pedestrians pass, they become part of the movement and magic happening inside.
Creating a Natural Fit
The new City Hall in Eloy, Ariz., brings together city offices that were originally scattered throughout the area. To reflect the town’s strong railroad history and desert surroundings, design firm SmithGroup used a combination of sand-toned cast-concrete walls segmented by vertical I-beams (to suggest a railroad track), a curved EIFS wall element in a color matching the saguaro cactus, and two entry canopies in a similar color crafted from perforated aluminum in the Aged Copper finish.
Stacia Ledesma, a former SmithGroup designer on the project, discusses how the perforated canopies serve a dual function: “We really wanted to bring shading into the building, and the west canopy also creates a gathering space as well as an entry.” The west canopy appears to continue into the building, creating a signature ceiling element. “It really brings that texture and layering into the building—it blends the interior and exterior space.”
Adding yet another design dimension, LED lighting was integrated into the perforated panels to create an additional, subtle visual interest after sundown.
Integrating Two Brands into One Design
Designed to serve 810 students spanning kindergarten through eighth grade in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, Moving Everest Charter School was born out of a partnership between two organizations: the school itself (the tenant) and the owner and developer, the By the Hand Club for Kids.
Together, they provide a school-plus-after-school model where children benefit from a rigorous education during the day and personalized learning experiences and care after school.
“When deciding how to best represent the identity of both organizations in the design, it was determined that the achievement of the children was the common element to both brands,” explains Joe Buehler, architect at local firm Present Future Architects.
To celebrate these young heroes, supergraphic grayscale images of real students with real stories were printed on an aluminum composite material and covered with perforated metal panels that provide the right balance between transparency and textural quality.
“Using perforated metal over the supergraphic provided continuity in the overall façade and allowed our client's branding to be integrated into the building skin rather than applied to it,” he explains. “The larger-than-life images celebrate the children and signify that something special is taking place in this building.”
Learn more about these three projects, and others that use perforated metal as a design element, at PAC-CLAD.com