Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural FenceContemporary Landscape, Philadelphia

Photographer: Tom Crane


Made of 300, 10-foot steel blades set upright 8 inches apart, the award winning Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural fence was designed for a home in Berwyn, Pennsylvania as a yard sculpture that also keeps deer out.

Made of COR-TEN, a steel alloy that eliminates the need for painting and maintains a rich, dark rust color without corroding, the fence stanchions were cut with a plasma cutter from sheets of the alloy.

Each blade stands 8 feet above grade, set in concrete 3 feet below, weighs 80-90 pounds and is 5/8 inch thick. The profile of the blades is an irregular trapezoid with no horizontal connections or supports. Only the gate has two horizontal bars, and each leaf weighs 1200 pounds.

Photo of a contemporary backyard landscaping in Philadelphia. —  Houzz
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This photo has 42 questions
Jason Hood wrote:Apr 21, 2013
  • Joni Goff
    I want to build something similar to this by my pool. I like the openness it gives. I can’t use metal because the wall less than 5’ from the waters edge. What other material could you suggest? The wall need to be 4’6” tall. Can you put me in touch with someone in OC area of so cal that can built this?
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

    Joni, we suggest speaking to someone locally that can advise you on the possibilities and requirements for fences surrounding pools in your area. Your codes will vary from ours and it is important to get the right information when it comes to life-safety issues. We are located in PA, and do not have familiarity with contractors in Southern California.

Linda Herrin Designs, inc wrote:Dec 9, 2012
gpietersz wrote:Mar 2, 2013
  • jvsmith
    Geez people! Read the article before you ask a question! Almost every question that has been asked is answered in the article! Please read first and save everyone some time. Just sayin'! And I'm just saying this because I think the architecture firm has been VERY patient answering the same questions over and over.
  • Nicole
    Lighten up...sometimes people are just busy...and make a mistake...but wow aren't you just such a humanitarian to have pointed out the obvious...bravo...you must feel very important...
Liquidscapes wrote:Nov 30, 2012
  • juanka10
    Does anyone know the price for this fence per lineal foot? I need only a 48" high fence with blades spaced at 4", profile of blade can be .5" x 4" imbedded in a continuous concrete footing 12"x24", total night is 200 feet
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Unfortunately we are not able to to disclose the cost per square foot, but let's just say that this fence is not for the faint of heart...or budget! :)
Kobe Deckers wrote:Dec 21, 2012
  • Nancy Dziki
    Must be a 1 foot angle iron if you do the math.
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you. The fence is made of 300 plasma cut, Cor-Ten steel blades, each weighing approx 80-90lbs.
Arbordale Landscaping wrote:Jan 29, 2015
  • PRO
    adminor

    visit to my website in choiceyourhome.com
    about home improvement, and thanks


  • aimee carlson
    So beautiful, well done! I am always impressed with the creativity of some people.
joshio1984 wrote:Feb 15, 2013
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    10 foot high blades of Cor-Ten steel spaced 10 inches apart. Even Rudolph couldn't jump this fence! :)
  • PRO
    SOTO Landscape Design
    WOW - spectacular idea and execution! Bravo. With deer being such a problem in our area, this is a beautiful solution for the right client$$$$.
JonTiff Keeth wrote:Jun 27, 2016
  • vinylm

    Awesome, love the design and I assumed the anchors were as such.

  • vinylm

    Are you able to disclose the total lenth of the span of the fence and the total cost?

vinylm wrote:Oct 23, 2015
  • Andre Beluchi

    What a beautiful fence that was built right there. It sure has me thinking about the fencing project that my father is wanting to do for his backyard. Would a fencing company provide you with some designs of building a fence? http://www.americansecuredfence.com/RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL-INDUSTRIAL---NYC.html

  • Jeff Bridges

    This is such a cool design for a fence. I'm not sure how much it would cost, but my guess is that it would be more than other options. It looks like you would have to get each board into the ground individually. It's really impressive that they all line up so well without even touching. http://www.americanfencecompany.com/

iloveomar2008 wrote:Sep 11, 2014
  • lagwagonshow
    I'm pretty sure this was a test for architects, to see what kind of "architectey" answer you could come up with. You two failed.
  • PRO
Robin wrote:Jun 24, 2014
  • Judy
    Beautiful! Amazing! Thee most wonderful piece of Functional Art I have seen in a long long time, Kudos to you! For the first time in my life...I...am jealous.
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you very much for your kind remarks! We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with this client to create their dream home and this unique fence/sculpture.
hallmank11 wrote:Jun 22, 2014
  • Vishnu Jayath
    Lovely ! But, reptiles / rodents etc can creep into, isn't it !
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    It is true that smaller animals can pass through the 8" wide gaps between Cor-Ten stanchions, but the original goal of this fence was to provide a sculptural enclosure that would keep out deer and not obstruct the views from the house of the natural surroundings.
gregory52 wrote:Apr 10, 2016
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

    Thank you for your interest in our Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural Fence. For more information please see our answers to the previous questions asked by other Houzz users, or read the description of the fence in our Cor-Ten Cattails project folder on our Houzz page.

  • PRO
    California Fence Company

    Looks Nice .. Thanks For sharing .

Karen Varrone wrote:May 23, 2015
Sterling Simpson wrote:Jan 9, 2015
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you for your inquiry, stirling74. Please feel free to contact our office in West Chester, PA. One of our principals would be happy to discuss your project with you in detail, including pricing. Our phone number is: 610-692-9112
  • PRO
    adminor

    visit to my website in choiceyourhome.com
    about home improvement, and thanks

Intara Ltd wrote:Nov 5, 2014
  • Intara Ltd
    Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for these useful information Tom
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thanks for helping us answer this question, Tom Crane Photography. Arnaudperrier, if you need any additional information about the construction of this fence, please refer to the answers we have provided for other Houzz users' questions about this project.
chiflipper wrote:Jan 13, 2017
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

    Thank you very much for your kind remarks! We will be keeping our fingers crossed for you and hope you do win the lottery one day so that we can build you your dream fence!

  • Joy Butler

    I love the fence. This fence really does have a breathtaking and modern feel to it. I love it. I would really like to have something like this. https://www.yorkfence.com/our-fences

timsimmen wrote:May 18, 2016
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

    This Cor-Ten fence was custom designed by our firm for one of our clients. Please see the description in the Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural Fence project folder on our Houzz page for more information on the design and fabrication of this fence, or read our responses to other Houzz users questions about the fence.

  • bbft96

    Functional art at it's best! Love it!

Susana Andino wrote:Dec 6, 2015
sss18956 wrote:Jan 26, 2015
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you very much! Each of the 90 lb. cor-ten steel blades is set in a 3' deep concrete foundation. The fence is extremely secure and there is no fear that could be blown over in a windstorm. On certain occasions when the wind blows at just the right angle and force, the blades become kinetic and gently sway in breeze like cattails.
  • PRO
    adminor

    visit to my website in choiceyourhome.com
    about home improvement, and thanks

Sterling Simpson wrote:Jan 9, 2015
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you for your interest in the Cor-Ten Cattails fence that our firm designed. If you would like us to design something similar for you, please feel free to contact our offices in West Chester, PA. One of our principals can speak to you about the process of custom designing a similar fence to meet your specific needs. Our office number is: 610-692-9112.
  • PRO
    adminor

    visit to my website in choiceyourhome.com
    about home improvement, and thanks

Tonya Miller wrote:Dec 31, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    These plasma Cor-Ten steel stanchions were custom designed by our architecture firm to create this fence/yard sculpture. For more information please refer to previous answers given to other Houzz users' questions about this specific project.
  • PRO
    Tom Crane Photography, Inc.
    they were custom made for this site.
Roberto Pinedo Mantilla wrote:Nov 12, 2014
  • PRO
    Tom Crane Photography, Inc.
    4 way adjustment bolts set in a concrete footing.
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you for helping answer the question Tom Crane Photography. If you need more information about the fence's construction, please refer to the answers we have given to other Houzz users questions about this same project.
ginniesasse wrote:Nov 9, 2014
rusrob wrote:Apr 8, 2013
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Unfortunately we are not able to share any of our plans for the design of this fence because it was customed designed for a client.
  • spacegorilla
    I would guess it's set in concrete. You could probably also drive the blades into the ground like a stake given the proper equipment and the right soil. As a farmer I could replicate this fence. I like the idea. You could probably implement this concept with a number of different materials in a number of different ways. Turning the blades a bit would also change the spacing, could be a neat idea.
heather8974 wrote:Apr 10, 2015
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

    Unfortunately we are unable to disclose the cost of this project. Needless to say, the cost of the plasma cut sheets of Cor-Ten steel along with the labor required to install each blade precisely is quite cost prohibitive.

heather8974 wrote:Apr 10, 2015
ginniesasse wrote:Nov 9, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Unforunately we are unable to disclose the cost of the project, but Cor-Ten steel does cost considerably more in terms of materials and labor to install than a typical wooden fence.
monnie76 wrote:Oct 22, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Made of 300, 10-foot steel blades set upright 8 inches apart, the award winning Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural fence was designed for a home in Berwyn, Pennsylvania as a yard sculpture that also keeps deer out.

    Made of COR-TEN, a steel alloy that eliminates the need for painting and maintains a rich, dark rust color without corroding, the fence stanchions were cut with a plasma cutter from sheets of the alloy.

    Each blade stands 8 feet above grade, set in concrete 3 feet below, weighs 80-90 pounds and is 5/8 inch thick. The profile of the blades is an irregular trapezoid with no horizontal connections or supports. Only the gate has two horizontal bars, and each leaf weighs 1200 pounds.
monnie76 wrote:Oct 22, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Made of 300, 10-foot steel blades set upright 8 inches apart, the award winning Cor-Ten Cattails Sculptural fence was designed for a home in Berwyn, Pennsylvania as a yard sculpture that also keeps deer out.

    Made of COR-TEN, a steel alloy that eliminates the need for painting and maintains a rich, dark rust color without corroding, the fence stanchions were cut with a plasma cutter from sheets of the alloy.

    Each blade stands 8 feet above grade, set in concrete 3 feet below, weighs 80-90 pounds and is 5/8 inch thick. The profile of the blades is an irregular trapezoid with no horizontal connections or supports. Only the gate has two horizontal bars, and each leaf weighs 1200 pounds.
ejn1979 wrote:Oct 5, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    As architects we truly appreciate being compared to a legendary artist/sculptor such as Serra. Cor-Ten steel is an extremely difficult material to work with, but the end results are definitely worth all of the hard work!
Stormmie Richardson wrote:Sep 12, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    We worked worked with a firm in Pennsylvania to construct this fence. Although we have not had the opportunity to work with a builder in North Carolina, we would recommend using a highly skilled builder/contractor to create a similar fence which requires a great deal of precision in terms of form and installation.
dianneparvin wrote:Sep 11, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    This is a custom cor-ten steel fence designed by Archer & Buchanan Architecture for one of our clients. If you are interested in having our firm design something similar for you, please feel free to give our office in West Chester, PA a call at 610-692-9112.
Sharon Mogridge wrote:Sep 6, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Due to the material used (Cor-ten steel) and the labor of aligning each blade of steel precisely, the cost of this fence is quite prohibitive.
Dominique Joly wrote:Aug 31, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    This is a custom fence designed by Archer & Buchanan for one of its clients. If you are interested in having us design something similar for you, please feel free to contact our firm.
Alice Mcdonald wrote:May 22, 2014
axtell21 wrote:Feb 5, 2014
  • PRO
    Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.
    Thank you for your feedback. I am unfamiliar with the specific height limitations in New Jersey, but I do know for a fact that this fence was designed to stand 8 ft in height.
axtell21 wrote:Feb 5, 2014

What Houzz contributors are saying:

stevenrandel
Steven Corley Randel, Architect added this to Building Green: The Paths, Beds and Decks That Define Your LandscapeAug 8, 2015

As mentioned, steel fencing is more expensive. However, design simplicity may solve part of the cost issue. The fence in the Philadelphia residence above is definitely high-end, but perhaps you have a much shorter distance to cover, and a choice like this might be a good fit.

carolcrotta
Carol Crotta added this to Good Fences, Good Neighbors — and Good ViewsSep 4, 2014

The sculptural quality of open fencing is amply demonstrated in this custom-made, curvaceous example, made of 300 Cor-Ten noncorroding steel alloy blades, angle cut at the top and set into a 3-foot concrete base 8 inches apart.

matthew_ankeny
Matthew Ankeny added this to 12 Delightfully Different Garden Walls and FencesMay 27, 2014

1. A sculptural fence. Cor-Ten steel blades (300 of them) make up this sculptural fence that winds around a Philadelphia residence. They’re 8 feet tall, which keeps out local deer, so the fence “is sculptural as well as functional,” says Bridget O’Brien of Archer & Buchanan Architecture. A sculptural fence comes with a high price, but for the right home, it can be the perfect custom touch.

frankorgan
Frank Organ added this to What the Heck Is a Ha-Ha, and How Can It Help Your Garden?Mar 27, 2013

This sepentine Cor-Ten steel fence without doubt has its ancestry in the ha-ha. The gaps between the uprights allow enough view through from one side to the other while creating a secure barrier. The serpentine shape also allows for different viewpoints as someone moves within the garden.

What Houzzers are commenting on:

fshilmover
fshilmover added this to 31 Elm19 hours ago

I like rusted metal as a material. Neat fence. Feels organic

birgit_anich
BA Staging & Interiors added this to FencesNov 4, 2019

even if in a straight line - natural finish

melissa_lucciola
Melissa Lucciola added this to FencingOct 20, 2019

Do you think the pups could get through?

webuser_221792569
Justin added this to My ideasOct 19, 2019

Good idea with lots of land. Private but enough to still show a nice house.

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