In Focus: The Architectural Applications of Zinc

The Roof Of - Custom Panels Fabricated By VMZINC. Image © Peter Cook

Many times, the most innovative minds in architecture aren’t the architects themselves. They can come in the form of students, researchers and in this case – providers. We recently asked VMZINC, a company that provides material solutions for architects, a few questions about the use of zinc in architecture, the Stonehenge Visitors Center and more. 

AD: How do you create intricate shapes with zinc, as seen in the roof at the Stonehenge Visitors Center?

TEDx: Metal that breathes / Doris Kim Sung

Biology student turn architect, has dedicated her studies to the infinite possibilities of thermobimetals, smart materials that respond dynamically to temperature change. As tested with DO|SU Studio Architecture’s recent installation “Bloom”, whose surface is completely fabricated with thermobimetal, these smart materials are capable of relieving our dependence on energy-inefficient mechanical systems with their self-shading and self-ventilating properties.

Imagine a building skin capable of maintaining thermal comfort in an environmentally responsible and cost effective way by responsively mimicking the characteristics of human skin.

Sheboygan Police Department / Zimmerman Architectural Studios

© Greg Gent

Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios
Location: , Wisconsin
Project Year: 2008
Engineer: Harwood Engineering Consultants
Photographs: Greg Gent, Kevin O’Donnell

Designed by of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Sheboygan Police Station is a municipal facility that was awarded an AIA Wisconsin Merit Award in 2011.  Perhaps the most signature element of the architectural scheme would be the blue glow that emanates from the structure — a revered and feared image standing as a symbol for law and order in the community.

Observation Tower / ARHIS

© Arnis Kleinbergs

Architects: ARHIS Architects
Project Architect: Arnis Kleinbergs
Client: Jurmala City council
Project team: Ieva Stale, Andrejs Gorodnicijs
Structural Engineer: Grigorijs Kameneckis
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Arnis Kleinbergs

Boulder Regional Fire Training Facility / Roth Sheppard Architects


The Boulder Regional Fire Training Facility holds many different programs. Its exterior shell is as red as an iconic fire truck, and stands out as a modern interpretation of a traditional building type. The facility was designed by Roth Sheppard Architects to accommodate all of the varied needs of the Boulder’s Fire Training Facility, united in one design.

Architect: Roth Sheppard Architects
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Consultants: TCA Architecture Planning, Scott Cox & Associates Inc, Abeyta Engineers, R2H,  Studio NYL, Design Studio West, Spec by Design, Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers, YRG
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Roth Sheppard Architects

Villa DVT / boetzkeshelder

© Merel van Beukering

Architects: boetzkes|helder
Location: Arnhem,
Structural Engineer: Bartels Engineers
Facade Engineer: Metadecor
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 160 sqm
Photographs: Merel van Beukering

TRADIBOM Administrative Building / LBM Studio

Courtesy of LBM Studio

Architects: LBM Studio / Leandro Matsuda
Location: Mogi Mirim,
Project Area: 358 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of LBM Studio

Mercer House / Vibe Design Group

© Robert Hamer

Architects: Vibe Design Group
Location: Melbourne,
Project Area: 314 sqm
Photographs: Robert Hamer

Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport Terminal B / Fentress Architects

© Ken Paul

Architect: Fentress Architects
Location: , California, United States
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Ken Paul, Mark Rothman, Jason A. Knowles, Nick Merrick

Terminal B at the Mineta San Jose International Airport by fits right in to its Silicon Valley Home. Fentress Architects created a building that takes advantage of available technology to assure a safe building with state of the art amenities for its users.

Ottmers House / Vincent Snyder Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Vincent Snyder Architects Location: Fredericksburg, , USA Project Year: 2011 Project Area: 2200 sqf Photographs: Courtesy of Vincent Snyder Architects

Redefinition of the Closing of Yrizar Palace Garden / VAUMM

© Aitor Ortiz

Architects: VAUMM
Location: , Spain
Client/Production: City Hall of Bergara
Construction: GOITU Eraikuntzak S.A.
Metal Work: Talleres Melo S.A.
Date: February-May 2011
Budget: 100.000 €
Photography: Aitor Ortiz

Dependance House / SPEDstudio

© Courtesy of

Architects: SPEDstudio
Location: Gubbio,
Partner in Charge: Saverio Panata
Project Team: Andrea Ambroso, Enrico Dusi, Silvia Zini
Project Year: 2008
Project Area: 40 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of SPEDstudio

L71 House / OFFICE AT Co.

© Wison Tungthunya

Architects: OFFICE AT Co.
Location: Bangkok,
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 650 sqm
Photographs: Wison Tungthunya

Coín Courthouse / Donaire Arquitectos

© Fernando Alda

Architecture: Donaire Arquitectos
Location: Málaga,
Client: Consejería de Justicia de la Junta de Andalucía
Collaboration: Ignacio Núñez, Carmela Domínguez, Tibisay Cañas, Beatriz Hacar, Delia Pacheco Donaire, Jesús Núñez Bootello
Project Year: 2008
Project Area: 2,205.30 sqm
Photographs: Fernando Alda

Alex Haley Interpretive Center / Askew Nixon Ferguson

© Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

Architects: Askew Nixon Ferguson
Location: , , USA
Principal in Charge: William Ferguson
Project Designer: Louis R Pounders
Project Team: Bob Land, Brian Martinelli, Liz Engel, Tava Frazier
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 604 sqm
Photographs: Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

Football Stadium FC Bate Borisov / OFIS arhitekti

Courtesy of OFIS arhitekti

Slovenia-based OFIS arhitekti shared with us their football stadium for FC Bate , of . Construction is expected to begin next year. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Balancing Barn / MVRDV

© Edmund Sumner

Architect: MVRDV
Location: , England
Design Team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Gijs Rikken
Co-Architect: Mole Architects
Landscape Architects: The Landscape Partnership
Client: Living Architecture
Project Area: 210 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photography: Edmund Sumner

Mummy Mountain Residence / Chen + Suchart Studio LLC

© Bill Timmerman of Timmerman Photography

Architects: Chen + Suchart Studio, LLC – Szu-Ping Patricia Chen Suchart and Thamarit Suchart
Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona,
Structural Engineering: AED Structural Engineers, Inc. – Christopher J. Sosnowski, P.E.
Construction Company: Cuff Custom Homes – Hugh Cuff
Construction Area: 3,968 sf or 368.64 sqm
Graphics + Drawings: Chen + Suchart Studio, LLC
Project Year: 2004 – 2008
Photography: Bill Timmerman of Timmerman Photography