Hello Again, Corrugated Panels
Once-Shunned Material Finds Expressive New Role in Contemporary Homes
The use of corrugated siding and roofing in residential architecture is typically shunned. Its use — in metal or plastic or some other appropriate material — brings to mind such unflattering connotations as industrial sheds, Quonset huts, or even shanty towns. But architects designing in a contemporary vein nevertheless embrace corrugated panels; they are lightweight, inexpensive, and expressive. Following are examples that illustrate the versatility of selectively using corrugated metal and plastics in residences.
Rare is a house covered completely in corrugated metal. In most cases it is used selectively for walls or roofs. This house in Spring Hill, Mississippi by architects John Beard and Dale Riser exhibits this predilection, even as the various materials work together in this contemporary rural home.
The corrugated application to focus on here is the awning in the foreground. Alongside the vertical ribs of this overhang are painted red panels, standing-seam metal, wood slats, and wire mesh screens. Most intriguing is how the awning appears to be translucent.
After sundown it is clear that the material is not corrugated metal, it is something else. Fiberglass to be precise. Located above a screen porch, this turn-down of the roof's high point allows light to filter into the house. In this house the application seems appropriate, because the ensemble appears rooted in the rural vernacular of the area, where inexpensive materials combine with considerations of climate.
This house addition in Austin, Texas by Furman + Keil Architects uses corrugated metal as an extension of the roof over a gallery that connects the carport and the main house. This gallery becomes the main entrance, so the living room is freed of this function. This photo shows the view from the carport towards the house and the backyard ...
... and this photo looks the opposite direction, towards the carport. Here it is clear why corrugated metal is used: Because it's lightweight, the roof can overhang a good amount (it looks to be about five or six feet) with a small-sized structure. Note the purlins running perpendicular to the structure just below the roof; these are necessary to support the corrugated metal, so the ribs can follow the line of the structure and shed water to the backyard.
One more roof application of corrugated metal is this addition to a house in Sydney, Australia by Sam Crawford. The architect appropriately calls it the "Wave House," because the new piece folds up and over the old portion, like a wave painted in corrugated metal. The movement of the roof form is strengthened by the direction of the corrugated metal's ribs. Let's take a closer look ...
... It's clear the architect thought carefully about the construction of the corrugated metal and how it interacts with other materials. The detail on the left is lovely. A minimal gutter cantilevers to another portion of the roof, where the gutter is internal; the latter is accommodated by a cut in the corrugated roofing. I'm reminded of Pritzer Prize winner (and fellow Aussie) Glenn Murcutt's houses, which use corrugated metal as roofs, many in shapes that capture rainwater in places where it is valuable to do so.
This house in Austin, Texas by Webber + Studio uses corrugated metal generously for its exterior walls. But it does so in such a way that the material is never overbearing; it alternates with windows and doors.
In the same house, the siding also gives the walls a unique texture, like pinstripes that give the horizontal building some vertical oomph. Note the silo-like cylinder in the background at right. An educated guess would be water tank. Another view of the house ...
... reiterates the way the architects used the material so it is not overbearing, using it with generous glazing, and in this case, with additional corners in plan that also increase the size of the terrace. Also note how the corrugated metal is used alongside another industrial material: concrete masonry units, or CMUs — but that is a subject for another ideabook.
Discussion of corrugated siding on roofing and walls has focused on its selective use and appropriateness. This photo illustrates that material is also very important; galvanized or some other silver-ish appearance is not the only option. Here copper covers the walls in this breezeway between a house's garage and living area. The pre-patinaed finish glimmers even in low light.
These last few examples show corrugated metal being used in idiosyncratic ways, what is perhaps the ideal scenario for a material with connotations many people want to leave behind. This live-work building in San Francisco expresses its own duality: the owners work on the ground floor (making sculptures) and live upstairs with their two children. Corrugated siding runs horizontally downstairs and vertically upstairs. It's a simple change but one that is striking nevertheless.
This house in Australia follows the contours of its sloping site, yet the corrugated walls touch down only occasionally; skinny stilts raise the lightweight building above the ground. Primary structure and window frames are painted orange, with the corrugated metal as a mute infill with horizontal windows. A good way of describing this house might be "industrial organic."
Last, what is an ideabook on corrugated metal without an actual Quonset hut? This project in South Carolina — a house and office for the architects — incorporates an existing World War II surplus hut instead of tearing it down. The sides of the structure, which contains the living and dining and kitchen spaces, are opened up with windows, so the impression of the Quonset hut is reduced, aided no doubt by the choice to paint the corrugated metal red. More: High Marks for Reinforced Concrete Great Ways with Cor-Ten Steel Browse more home design photos
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