Metal Architecture featured William Duff in the article Designing with Metal Plates. More than a utilitarian material, William shares the design and structural benefits of using metal plates, and cautions.

This is a summary of the article edited by Mark Robins of Metal Architecture.

‘”Because solid metal plates are durable and very good at holding a clean, consistent edge, William S. Duff Jr., founder and managing principal at William Duff Architects, San Francisco, explains one of their benefits is they can hold a very tight and continuous reveal between two metal plates. “This is helpful in composing an elevation, a component of a building or cladding. They can also be mounted or supported differently than other materials—a solid metal plate can hold a cantilever with a very thin profile. In other words, its self-supporting properties allow one to express a design differently than other materials because it can extend beyond its supporting structure further than other materials with a thinner profile.”

With a melting point of over 1,200 F, aluminum solid metal plates are considered a non-combustible cladding material within building codes. Because of this, they can be used adjacent to heat sources. “We’ve used them for fireplace surrounds because the same material can be used to clad the entire fireplace surface,” Duff says. “A metal plate can go right up next to a combustible edge, which allows for a cleaner, more modern look.”

Solid metal plates can be used to wrap an I-beam or a welded box section column. Duff explains, “One can attach a metal plate to either using a welded joint to get a continuous expression of the architecture, which allows the structural frame to blend seamlessly into the other components of the architecture. [Also,] they can consistently hold a flat surface over a larger surface without oil canning.”

Duff cautions that when not treated properly, metal plates can corrode. “In high traffic and corrosive or wet environments they may not be the best choice. Another limitation is that if the material needs to be modified on a job site, it requires more labor, effort or special equipment than other materials.”’

Read more here.

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