by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Refuge du Goûter

The material of the envelope is a response to the climate and the environment.

With its summit at 4,810 metres, the Mont-Blanc becomes the holy grail of thousands of alpine mountaineers every year! Built at an altitude of 3,835m, the “refuge du Goûter” shelter constitutes the last stage of the normal – or royal – route before the final ascent. The shelter was built in 1962 and has been the object of intense usage but is now under menace from the advancing glacier. It is being replaced by a new audacious construction, in the form of an ovoid placed perpendicularly to the ridge over an advanced rockface.

The shape and location are two radical options taken to minimise the amount of snowdrift build-up and allowing the west wind to slip freely over the cliff. Identifiable by its thick folded stainless steel body, a snow melter tank with eight anti-stagnation devices completes the installation.

With temperatures as low as – 40° C, the idea is to create an environment akin to a soup-tin with a capacity of 120 people. Aside from the cocoon-like interior and the varied equipment designed to provide the required autonomy and of course, the extreme environment, specific research has been conducted in order to choose the exterior cladding. This had to be an evaluation of several types of metallic “skins”, in terms of their characteristics; deformation, resistance, visual aspect, fabrication, ease of installation and recyclability.

A 304L grade austenitic stainless steel siding proved ideal for the extreme conditions encountered in the pure mountain air and was compatible with the budget of the construction project. A four month study was necessary in order to define the details of the assembly and determine the profile of each facet to allow for easy assembly on-site. A novel assembly technique was devised, using a Z shaped profile of the steel bands on the upright and flat junctions, to insure constant flatness of the cladding, with hollow junctions of the same type of steel as the facets. Additional difficulties came from the windows and photo-voltaic panels which had been installed prior to the cladding.

Another imposed requirement in this protected and very popular site constantly over-flown by medical or surveillance helicopters, was to prevent unwanted shiny reflections that may dazzle pilots. The external cladding was made from 304 grade stainless steel with a Uginox top coating, 0.5mm thick for the covering and 0.8 and 1.2mm thicknesses for the sides. Each facet is “lit” by sunshine, just like the faces of the Mont-Blanc itself, as the sun runs its course through the day.


Uginox Top/Uginox Mat
0.5 & 0.8mm/1.20mm


Location Saint-Gervais, France
Architect Groupe H et Déca-Laage
Photo ©Pascal Tournaire
by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Balancing Barn

The Balancing Barn stands on the edge of a tranquil nature reserve a few miles inland from the Suffolk coast, near the historic towns of Walberswick and Aldeburgh.

Clad in elegant silver tiles, with walls and roof covered in 0.5mm thick Grade 1.4404, 316L Uginox Bright stainless steel by Aperam Stainless Steel Europe. Working in closely with UK based Mole Architects of Cambridge Aperam SSE provided assistance with samples to assist the design and planning approval procedure.

The Balancing Barn is a cantilevered holiday home for clients Living Architecture, a British organization devoted to making architecture an experience, who have a series of outstanding holiday homes in the UK. The building, which is 3O metres long, balances over a descending grassed slope at its midpoint leaving 50% projecting into free space, all made possible by the rigid structure. The beauty of the ever changing Suffolk skies and landscape are reflected in the Uginox Bright surface rejoicing in the season’s colours and moods. Roof and walls are covered using a traditional technique of interlocking stainless steel shingles which are individually secured using secret fixings providing robust and easy clean surface. Specialist contractor CEL from Peterborough undertook the project.

The building incorporates four double bedrooms, each with separate bathroom and WC. At the centre of the barn is a hidden staircase providing access to the garden beneath. At opposite ends are the kitchen and large living space. All rooms have full height sliding windows giving wonderful views.

The advantages of stainless steel:

  • Its bright surface finish reflects the evolving colour of the day and of the seasons
  • A suitable aspect for this type of contemporary architecture
  • An easy implementation of shingles providing robustness to the facade
  • A smooth low roughness for easy maintenance
  • A grade (316L) suitable for marine atmosphere

Architect: MVRDV

Material: 316L/1.4404
Uginox Bright

by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Musée Confluences

Visual Impact of Stainless Cladding

The Musée des Confluences is a science centre and anthropology museum opened in 2014 in Lyon, France.

It is also a stunning example of the beauty and agility of stainless steel. This already iconic building, designed by Austrian architects, Coop Himmelb(l)au, represents the union of a glass crystal and a stainless steel cloud. It is the use of a layer of stainless steel to cover the cloud that allows it to reflect light and colour; encapsulating echoes of the sky and the city, as well as the water and the greenery.

Beauty and agility at work, this combination of cladding along with the stark shape of the building gives Musée des Confluences its stealthy appearance that may be accentuated under its shell or diluted in the light, creating the impression of a solid behemoth or a soft cloud.

Lyon, France
Coop Himmelb(l)au
Photo ©Duccio Malagamba
by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Paneum – Wunderkammer des Brotes

If you happen to be in the Austrian village of Asten, you simply can’t help but notice the shiny, futuristic PANEUM building. The four-story building was commissioned by Backaldrin, a local flour and baking ingredients company, to house its information center, exhibition venue and even a museum on the history of bread.

Designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, the building is comprised of two structures stacked on top of one another. The lower ‘box’ is made of bare concrete and houses the entrance and special event space.

This contrast strikingly with the metallic bubble that floats on top and houses the main exhibition galleries. Called the ‘Wunderkammer des Brotes’, this top level is comprised of a glue laminated timber structure cladded with Aperam Stainless Steel shingles (Aperam 316L bead blasted, 1mm thickness), which give the building its iconic shine.

Opened in 2017, the exhibition brings the history of bread to life through a collection of over 1,200 objects that date back 9,000 years.

Architect: Coop Himmelb(l)au
Photo: ©Markus Pillhofer
Location: Asten, Austria


by Uginox Uginox No Comments

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology is one of the world’s leading research institutes. The scientists are working to advance understanding of biological processes at the molecular level providing the knowledge needed to solve key problems in human health. The £200m project forms part of the newly-expanded Cambridge Biomedical Campus at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge.

The stainless steel cladding to four services towers have created a dramatic feature for the new building. Uginox Top, a low reflective stainless steel surface was specified by the project architect.

Approximately 14,000m² of interlocking shingles clad the towers which house all heavy plant servicing the building. The towers are linked to the main laboratory building rather than attached to it in order to remove weight and sources of vibration.

Durable surface

A 0.7mm thick Uginox Top was chosen for its flat matt surface aesthetic and high corrosion resistance.
Uginox Top has a fixed rolled on surface which requires only minimal maintenance.

The stainless steel advantages for this building:

  • A low thermal expansion coefficient
  • A high resistance to corrosion
  • A traditional work setting
  • A surface finish in harmony with contemporary architecture
RMJM Architects


by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Palace of Justice in Antwerp

The construction of the new Palace of Justice in Antwerp is the result of an international architectural competition.

The contract was awarded to the Richard Rogers Partnership team in association with Ove Arup and VK Studio offices who proposed an efficient, subtle and transparent building with a powerful symbolic image.

These “sail” roofs are the architectural focal point of the project. An extensive design study was necessary to determine the type of materials and construction methods required for these roofs. For example, wind tunnel studies were needed to determine the loads incurred during extreme weather. Each of the 32 roof modules is formed from four prefabricated quarters, that are then assembled on-site with a system of bolts. The geometric shape traced by these quarters is a hyperbolic paraboloid. This method simplifies the structural assembly and the fabrication of the components. Glued and laminated timber beams disposed on a frame in line with the straight lines of the sails and are mounted onto a tubular steel frame. Then three layers of planks are successively screwed on to form the shell.

The final roof covering is achieved with strips of 316L stainless-steel with Uginox Matt coating. Several technical constraints have pushed the designers towards this type of material: Natural durability, particularly when a site is exposed to maritime influences, the possibility of using welding techniques, complex geometry with either little or no angles in some places and extreme slants in others, lack of access for maintenance and of course; the visual aspect and colour.

To obtain a perfectly water-tight installation, the stainless-steel sheets are welded in a continuous seam using an automatic machine, thus creating an almost monolithic surface.

by Uginox Uginox No Comments

House Extension Bogindhu

Bogindhu is a large house extension and refurbishment of Bogindhu farmhouse in Aberdeenshire. The Project required a significant amount of work to the existing farmhouse including the removal of ground floor and first floor structures.

All internal walls of the original house were removed to reorganise the spaces within. The original external walls of the house were stripped back to expose the bare stone and re-lined to include insulation in order to increase the efficiency of the house.

The new house extension was designed as a contemporary barn structure, placed in an ‘L’ formation to complete the missing side of the farm court. The first floor was marked by a stainless steel band ( Uginox Top, type 316) which serves as a cill for the cladding and in places as a gutter. The roof is a 0.5 mm standing seam system set at 500 mm which was hand-formed on site and, at just 4kg / m², weighs considerably less than a similar system in copper, zinc or aluminium. Moreover, they prefered to replace the proposed zinc roof with a stainless steel one due to concerns that the run-off water from the larch cladding, which contains tannins, may have discoloured the zinc.  Uginox Top’s durable matt finish is designed to harmonise with a wide variety of building styles and materials, in this case vertical timber façades, full height windows and stone walls.

Internally, the house extension is deliberately different from the existing stone house, the spaces are large and open with high ceilings. The double height space overlooking the living room provides a sense of drama and contrast to the smaller, more intimate spaces of the cottage.

by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Stainless Steel – Courthouse, Strasbourg – France

Refurbishment of the Court of Strasbourg

After the French defeat in 1870 and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire, Strasbourg paid a heavy price. Unchanged since the 15th century, this historic town had to adapt. The adoption in 1878 of a development plan designed by a municipal architect Jean Geoffroy Conrath planned the expansion of the city to the north, beyond the fortifications of the 17th century. The desire from the new imperial power to found the Neustadt, or “New city”, responded to the need to establish its authority within an exemplary capital with official buildings and housing. Stretching beyond Ill Canal which later became the Canal du Faux-Remparts, the Neustadt was the place of some remarkable constructions such as the station (1883), the Palais de l’Université (1884) or the Palais Impérial (1888), creating a common eclectic construction style. The Neustadt was associated for far too long with a painful period in history but is today the symbol of an unwavering French-German reconciliation underpinned by a strong European culture.

The restructuring of the Strasbourg railway station in 2007 by the SNCF architecture agency Arep, which fits snuggly under a glass shell, triggered the town’s awareness which then embarked on a drive to protect the future of the buildings in the Neustadt. After the university library was restored in 2014 by the architect Nicolas Michelin, it was time for the Palais de Justice – built in 1898 by the architects Johan-Karl Ott and Skjold Neckelmann – to gain a new leash of life. This exceptional building of 14,920 m2 was part of a large-scale renovation project between 2014 and 2016 carried out by the Spanish Architect firm, Garcès-de Seta- Bonet.

Located within a densely populated area, the massive building has four grey sandstone facades displaying classic architectural elements (pediments, low relief carvings, columns…). Yet transforming an historical 19th century building into a 21st century court house requires the functional needs of modern public equipment to be supported whilst incorporating updates to comply with security standards applicable to establishments servicing the public (ERP rules). Well-designed from the outset, the internal functional organisation was preserved and adapted to current challenges, with people flow reviews depending on the changing trends in use and the creation of an extension. Designed to hold 225 magistrates and civil servants, this mammoth project involved three delicate construction sites which were located in the heart of the Alsace capital.


by Uginox Uginox No Comments

Our Top Five Must Read Blog Posts

1, Famous Buildings Constructed Using Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an ideal construction material in many ways, strong and resistant to corrosion. It has been used as a building material since the 1920s, which attests to its longevity and its enduring popularity. Some of the world’s most recognisable buildings (and other landmarks such as bridges, statues and monuments) have used stainless steel in their construction… Read More

2, The Benefits of Stainless Steel in Architecture

Stainless steel has been used as a construction material since the 1920s, so it is certainly not a new product. In fact, its rising popularity in recent years is testament to how suitable it is for use in the building industry, with uses ranging from roofing and safety railings to architectural cladding. It has also been shown, due to its use over so many years, to have a long lifespan, which is an important consideration in construction… Read More

3, The advantages of stainless steel in Roofing

Stainless steel is a « green material » par excellence and is infinitely recyclable and recycled. Within the construction sector, its actual recovery rate is close to 100%… Read More

4, 8 Famous Stainless Steel Monuments and Sculptures

We’ve picked 8 Famous Stainless Steel Monuments and Sculptures from around the world… Read More

5, Stainless Steel A 100% Recyclable Product

Stainless steel is the “green material” par excellence and is infinitely recyclable. Within the construction sector, its actual recovery rate is close to 100%… Read More