the project

Zinc is one of the most versatile, robust and environmentally justifiable materials available for cladding buildings. Zinc offers a warranty of 30 years (or up to 50 years depending upon the installers’ qualifications) and an exceptionally good life cycle assessment.

It is increasingly seen in contemporary buildings, and can be used as both cladding and roofing material, as shown in the pictured example of an extension to a traditional house, undertaken by us.

This naturally occurring element is the fourth most used metal in the world, after aluminium, iron and copper. One excellent reason for using zinc is its ability to keep away corrosion. Because zinc forms a thin patina covering, it is protected from damp weather problems.

How we worked

On a project in which we decided to use a completely zinc clad building as a garden-room/extension to a traditional house, we and the clients came to the conclusion that the aesthetic of the extension should be clearly defined as a new visually autonomous addition. This seemed a responsible architectural approach given that the building has been extended a few times already in a style that blends with the original style. Having respect for the traditional form, we worked to add this zinc extension and a connecting section which enhanced and emphasised the original form while creating a new chapter.

Highly efficient AluClad windows from Nordan blend well with the zinc finishes completing a harmonious external appearance.

Fine design detailing with zinc can allow for ventilation and waterproofing while excellent craftsmanship by a specialist zinc contractor ensures an aesthetically pleasing and precise form. Imaginative zinc eaves flashing details can negate the need for gutters, with rainwater falling to French drains around the base perimeter, as in our extension, pictured.

However, zinc works equally well in an industrial architectural setting, for modernist office buildings, and workspaces. It offers a dramatic visual appeal wherever it is used.

Scotland’s housing stock now comprises many conversions – traditionally barn conversions and more recently industrial conversions – into residential homes. Many older conversions are reaching an age where they are proving less than suitable for modern living. Often the spaces that were created cannot now be upgraded in the same fabric, as they fall below today’s building standards. Zinc often offers a good solution in these cases.

Success of the project

Zinc offers a crisp contemporary look which works as a standalone attraction, or can reinforce the concept of a contrasting aesthetic to a more traditional house.