perforated metal

In recent years, one of the growing trends in modern architecture has been the incorporation of perforated metal in construction. This is not necessarily surprising, given that perforated metal sheets can be used to enhance a building’s facade with an almost infinitely wide range of images, textures, and shapes. And although perforated metal is most often used for aesthetic and design purposes, it can frequently serve practical functions as well. 

To showcase the wide range of fascinating and eye-catching uses of perforated metal in architecture, this article will showcase some noteworthy examples from building projects around the world. 

1. Miami Museum Garage

There is no shortage of flashy, eye-catching sights when exploring Miami’s downtown design district. But even in this high-competition environment, the exterior of the Miami museum parking garage is an arresting sight.

While different sections of the building’s exterior have been decorated by a collection of artists, the building’s front is covered in a layer of perforated metal, presenting a beautiful, flowing facade created through the use of color and gaps in the metal. These gaps showcase specific rooms within the structure and evoke the tunnels and chambers of an ant colony. 

Not only does the outer layer of metal provide a beautiful and unique face, but the metal also serves to moderate and control the amount of sun and wind that enter the parking structure, thus serving a double function, both aesthetic and practical. 

2. Salesforce Transit Center

The Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco is another large building that boldly features perforated metal panels. This massive transportation hub took 17 years to finish construction, and is surrounded by rolling, wave-shaped sheets of perforated metal. The design cut into the metal was designed by physicist and mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, who took his inspiration for the pattern from both the natural world and math itself. 

3. Douyun Bookstore

Architect firm Wutopia Lab made a bold choice when, rather than demolishing two abandoned buildings, they joined the two empty spaces into a single functional bookstore by wrapping the structure in perforated aluminum. The aluminum sheet surrounding Douyun bookstore is perforated at differing sizes, creating different levels of visibility around the structure, sometimes giving partial views of the old original structures below, and overall creating a gentle, welcoming, “cloudy” look.

Where once two “unfocused” buildings eventually failed, the single uniting factor of the perforated metal gently covering the bookstore creates a clean, well-spaced interior as well as attractive outside garden and courtyard spaces that make this flagship bookstore location a destination in its own right. 

4. Vancouver’s Treehouse

The looming building in West Vancouver known as the Tree House is a condo building whose exterior is made up of a combination of concrete, dark painted metal, and of course, perforated metal sheets. Similar to the Miami garage structure, these metal sheets will serve a dual function of giving the building’s exterior a more tree-like and “natural” look while also regulating the amount of sun that directly strikes the walls and windows of the building, helping to better control the temperature and levels of natural light.

These metal sheets, along with the intentionally uneven shape of the building, help it feel almost like a natural formation jutting out of the surrounding wilderness. 

5. Cinema Le Grand Palais

When the french design group, Antonio Virga Architecte, set out to repurpose a space that had at different points been both a convent and a military base, their goal was to make a movie theater that was built from modern design sensibilities while still evoking the grand, monumental movie theaters of the past. 

The Cinema Le Grand Palais does this with two main building structures – one a simple but elegant white marble rectangle that matches the dimensions of the nearby centuries-old homes, the other half covered in a “false” extension of a brilliant gold perforated metal sheet. The overall design is founded in the architectural history of the area while still presenting a magnificent and opulent facade and still provides a practical use as light spilling from within the large golden box helps to illuminate the surrounding square. 

The Sky’s the Limit 

There can be no doubt that the use of perforated metal sheets in architecture around the globe is on the rise, and the reasons for this trend are equally clear. That’s why, if you are starting or planning a new construction project, there has never been a better time to contact MetalTech Global to help bring your artistic vision to life.

As the nation’s single premier manufacturer and distributor of zinc sheets and coils. Zinc sheet is a hugely flexible metal, both physically and metaphorically, capable of being molded into nearly any shape and displaying any image through careful perforation. Take advantage of our services now to find out how we can help you realize your next construction dream.


As any architect can tell you, choosing the right construction materials is one of the earliest and most critical steps in any construction project. And, naturally enough, as the years pass, different materials will come in and out of popular favor. Recent years have seen zinc increasingly used in more and more construction projects around the world, and when one thinks about it, it’s hardly surprising why. 

Zinc offers a wide array of benefits as a building material that make it an attractive choice, offering many of the same benefits as much more expensive metals like copper while still holding strict and distinct advantages over cheaper metals like stainless steel. This article will explore the principal reasons why zinc has taken off so much in recent years by examining its unique benefits. 

Zinc Is Eco-Friendly

Zinc has several “Green” advantages over many of the other commercial metals used in construction. First of all, it’s an incredibly common element, ranking the 24th most commonly found in the Earth’s crust, which means that it can be found and mined in abundance. 

Zinc also has several eco advantages in the smelting and manufacturing process as well. It has a lower melting point than aluminum or copper, which means that it requires less energy to melt down and refine. Additionally, zinc is close to 100% recyclable, which means that at the end of its service life (or just after a building has been demolished), old zinc sheets can be melted down and reforged into a new zinc sheet of almost the same size. This, in combination with its long service life, means that less zinc overall needs to be extracted from the Earth.

Zinc Has a Long Service Life

As we just mentioned, zinc has a long service life – due to the protective patina that zinc roofing and cladding will naturally form, it’s weatherproof, resistant to corrosion, antimicrobial, and resistant to UV radiation. All of this means that a zinc roof, if well maintained, can easily last for 100 years without needing to be replaced. 

A zinc roof won’t need major repairs or anything more than very basic maintenance due to its patina. This protective outer layer makes the metal self-healing since, even when receiving minor scratches or damage over time, a fresh layer of patina will readily form over the damaged area. While there are other metals that offer the same benefit, zinc is generally a fraction of the price of more premium metals like copper.

Zinc Is Weatherproof

Similar to the last point, zinc is resistant to many corrosive weather elements. While a zinc roof in an environment rich with salt water won’t last as long as one in a drier climate, it still clearly outperforms stainless steel (its cheaper alternative) by a long shot. Zinc roofing and cladding also do well in heavily snowy environments. 

Zinc is Flexible

One of its main advantages is that zinc is flexible both literally and figuratively. While zinc roofing is highly popular, it’s hardly the only use for this amazing metal. Zinc works well at any pitch between 5 and 90 degrees and, when rolled thin (around 0.7mm), it can be molded into a vast range of flowing curves, angles, and shapes. All of this means that zinc is an ideal metal not only for roofing but for cladding the entire outer envelope of a building.

In recent years, architects around the world have been taking advantage of this fact to create all sorts of imaginative, beautiful, and unconventional projects, able to be used on any project be it thoroughly modern, totally traditional, or anything in between. With a zinc structure, the architect’s imagination is their only limit!

Zinc is Beautiful

Last of all, it should not be left merely implied that zinc is simply an aesthetically pleasing metal. The clean, crisp, lines of a metal roof work just as beautifully in a modern aesthetic as they did in the earliest zinc roofs built in Europe in the 19th century.

From the natural black of the metal, to the subtle bluish color of its patina, to the vibrant range of colors that it can be given through painting and treatment, zinc can be used to create any kind of aesthetic, from traditional, to straight-laced modern, to bright and playful. 

Taking Advantage of the Best

Indeed, the ever-increasing popularity and presence of zinc in the modern architecture landscape is hardly surprising. At MetalTech Global, we know from experience just how incredible this metal is, and with our state-of-the-art facilities, we are the most experienced in the country with manufacturing, designing, and engineering of zinc building enveloping systems.

As the premier manufacturer and distributor of zinc in North America, we are equipped with all the resources and know-how necessary to provide you with the finest possible zinc sheets and coils to complete your next building project.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you bring your next project to life with zinc.


Although it is much less famous and widely known than some of its counterparts such as copper or stainless steel, zinc has a long-standing history of usage in architecture. It was first used several hundred years ago during the 19th century in Europe, and is now once again on the rise in popularity in architectural projects around the world. 

But what first attracted builders to this metal in the past, and why is interest in it increasing once again? There are a lot of reasons why zinc is increasingly used in roofs and cladding, both in the past and currently, and this article will explore those reasons in detail. 

Basic Zinc Facts

Zinc is a particularly abundant and common element – specifically the 24th most common to be found in Earth’s crust. Indeed, it can be found in the Earth, water, and even air all around us, and plays a critical role in regulating the metabolic functions of living things from plants, to animals, to humans. You can even buy zinc supplements over the counter in your local pharmacy’s vitamins and supplements section.

As a construction material scientifically considered a heavy metal, it seems strange that zinc would be desirable (let alone safe) to ingest. Strange as it is however, zinc’s non-toxic qualities are well known, and actually make it an ideal metal for structures that interact with water and runoff, such as gutters. 

A Short History of Zinc

Humans have been aware of zinc for a long time – even the ancient Romans made use of it (although not as an architectural metal). That said, it wasn’t until the 19th century that people began to be fully aware of zinc’s potential when the first major center for extracting, processing, and smelting zinc was built to create the first lightweight, rolled sheets of the metal.

Some of the earliest innovations with zinc were made in Germany and Austria as the metal was used in a hollow casting process to create a huge range of decorative elements from lampposts, to statuary, to flowing filigree on doors and balconies. And of course it didn’t take long for people to discover the primary use of zinc – as a roofing and cladding material. 

When Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann was tasked by Napoleon with carrying out a massive urban renewal plan in Paris, his extensive use of zinc roofing had an enduring effect on the city. Both in terms of the literal long service life of those original rooves, but also because the visual style that he established is still defining what people think of as the Parisian look today. 


Before engineering and metallurgical science had provided the wide range of modern alloys and materials that modern construction depends upon, zinc was the lightweight, durable material of choice for architects in the harsh environments of northern Europe. 

Lightweight, resistant to corrosion and even to physical damage, given the right combination of geographic position and local conditions, a well-maintained zinc roof can last for a century, or even potentially longer! What’s more, this durability refers not just to zinc’s longevity, but the ease and low cost associated with maintaining it. The natural patina formed by the metal makes it anti-microbial, and will naturally continually reform, allowing a zinc roof to “self-heal” minor scratches. 

Eco Advantages

Connected to its incredible longevity, zinc offers several ecological advantages. The primary perk of course, is that a long-lasting zinc roof will not need to be replaced for a long time, and thus will not require the extraction or production of new metal. Compare this “one time” installation to asphalt shingles for example – every year the US generates around 11 million tons of asphalt waste associated with re-roofing buildings. 

There’s also the question of recyclability. An asphalt shingle might last for around 15 to 17 years before it must go straight into a landfill. Zinc on the other hand is 100% recyclable, which means that even after a 90 year service life, a zinc roof can be removed, melted down and reshaped into a fresh piece of metal that can be used all over again in an entirely different building. 

Even producing fresh zinc sheets is a comparatively eco-friendly option since it has a lower melting point than other similar architectural metals. This means that processing zinc requires only one quarter of the raw amount of energy necessary to process aluminum, and only a third of the energy required for stainless steel or copper.

Zinc on the Rise

Zinc, once associated specifically with roofing in a few European countries, is becoming more and more common in a range of uses and a variety of projects around the world. It has many of the same desirable qualities as high-end metals like copper while being cheaper, while still offering superior durability and recyclability than cheaper metals like stainless steel. 

That’s why you should contact MetalTech Global today – we are the nation’s premier zinc manufacturer and distributor, and our state of the art facilities allow us to produce zinc sheets and coils to your specifications. Find out how we can bring your next project to life!