Progressive Material Choices

For my last & final post for this class, I thought up different ideas to post about but decided it would be in my best interest to write about my research paper. Ultimately, I am researching through different examples of Corten Steel projects to see its development over time and whether or not it is beneficial to the environment. I have read in a few different places that Corten Steel is often used as the facade of a building in a natural setting because the golden brown patina blends in well as an environmental characteristic. Much to my surprise, I found an example of a facade in Madrid, Spain that uses Corten Steel not only as the facade but also as shutters. This intrigued me because one, I have been to Madrid and am dying to go back, and two, because I always think of Corten as being an envelope or facade rather than a functional piece to a  building.

San Vincente Ferrer Home

San Vincente Ferrer Home

The team of James & Mau tackled the process of upgrading a historical building in Spain so they could “meet the dictates of [their] present material and energy crisis without losing their charm,” (Inhabitat). They did this by renovating the San Vincente Ferrer home. The article mentions that the shutters actually “spiff up” the entire neighborhood as a whole (Inhabitat). The shutters most certainly single out the newest renovation on the block, but they also provide natural ventilation and day lighting. Another interesting contribution the shutters have are their ability to “promote solar gain in [the] winter” while shading the city during the warm summer months (Inhabitat).

I felt that this was an interesting project to read about because it shows Corten used in an urban setting. They had to overcome a serious set of regulations when designing in a setting such as this. In this case, the steel benefits the area on more level than one. Perhaps Corten is more beneficial than it is harmful. I look forward to continuing research and investigating this topic further.



Laylin, Tafline. “A Clever Facade of Corten Steel Shutters Revitalizes San Vincenete Ferrer Home in Madrid.” Inhabitat. Sustainable Architecture, 07 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012. <;.


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