The malleable metal was first used on roofs in 1809. Two recent - and very different - projects reveal that it has lots to offer today's architect, not least beauty, versatility and durability
The first zinc roof was installed in 1809 on a relatively traditional church in Liege - now part of modern day Belgium. Since then, zinc has been used on a wide range of architectural typologies using all sorts of different systems and finishes.
To highlight the creativity and flexibility of the metal, VM Zinc launched Focus on Zinc magazine in 1997. The magazine has showcased architecture from around the world using zinc on roofs and walls.
After 26 editions, including the Archizinc Trophy editions that involved panels of architects judging projects, the latest edition [PDF] came out just before Christmas 2022.
One of the sectors where zinc has been ever present is in housing and Focus on Zinc 19 featured two very different projects: an individual house called On the Rocks in The Lebanon by Karim Nader Studios and residential development Lampwick Quay in Manchester by CallisonRTKL, the firm that now forms part of Arcadis’s expanded architecture and urbanism team of experts.
Architects can sign up for a webinar called A tour of zinc in architecture from Mount Lebanon to Manchester in the UK on 13 June 2023 when Karim Nader of Karim Nader Studios and Matthew Pickering, associate principal at Arcadis, will be presenting on their two projects.
The partnership between architect and VM Zinc goes back to the 19th century when the company first started producing technical drawings. Fast forward to 2023 and VM Zinc is still supporting architects with design tools such as BIM, specifications, Environmental Product Declarations, Broof(t4) fire tests and more.
For samples, further information and technical support, visit vmzinc.co.uk