Corrugated iron - A historical or modern material of the building envelope?

Seija Linnanmäki*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Actually, corrugated iron is not a modern material but 200 years old. "Corrugation and Galvanization of Sheet Iron" was patented in 28.4.1829 by Henry Robinson Palmer who built bow-shape open-shelters for tondon Dock Company. Galvanizing method proved to be extremely important for the life-span of corrugated iron. French civil engineer Stanislaw Sorel improved hot-dip zinc-coating method and got a patent in 1837. However, significant modern architecture has been built of corrugated iron in 20th century such as Frey House 1 in Palm Springs by Albert Frey 1953. There is also a story of Christal Palace 1851: glass and steel frame construction was selected because it was cheaper than corrugated iron! Corrugations made sheets rigid and gave additional structural strength. Early machine "corrugated iron manual roller" from 19th century is on display in Kapunda museum in south-Australia. Most famous model for corrugated iron has been sine wave. However, many other profiles (and other metals copper, alumina and COR-TEN steel) have been developed especially after 1960s: 2 examples of architect Erkki Kairamo: Marimekko textile factory, Helsinki 1974 and A. Ahlström paper factory in Varkaus 1975-77. Corrugated iron was a cheap, self-supporting and light material. In 1855 for example Davis Rowell sold "portable buildings" for dwellings, churches, chapels, hotels, schools and hospitals. These early prefabricated facade-systems were shipped from Europe to Africa, Canada and South-America: in 1854 nearly 30000 "corrugated iron kit buildings" only to Australia. During the WWI Peter Norman Nissen patented a barrack for British army. Built in 100 000 copies Nissen Bow Hut became a global icon for corrugated iron. Nevertheless, it's characteristics made it also neglected. Until WWII corrugated iron buildings reflected mostly destitution and indulgence. It was derelict material for agricultural and temporary buildings, cow sheds and cold storage. On the other hand, corrugated iron is vulnerable and prompt to weathering and mechanical damage, but durable and long-lasting if protected and maintained. In my article I will present most common (electrochemical) corrosion types and coating failures as well as the environmental factors causing corrosion. To reuse corrugated iron buildings, it is important to identify their architectural, historical and cultural values. Restoration and conservation measures should follow the idea of minimum intervention. I will discuss methods for corrosion prevention and protection by literature, personal observations as well as drawings, designs and specifications for implemented renovations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Docomomo Conference - Adaptive Reuse
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Modern Movement Towards the Future
    PublisherDocomomo Suomi Finland
    Pages656-662
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)9789899964501
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventInternational Docomomo Conference - Adaptive Reuse: The Modern Movement Towards the Future - Lisbon, Portugal
    Duration: 6 Sep 20169 Sep 2016
    Conference number: 14

    Conference

    ConferenceInternational Docomomo Conference - Adaptive Reuse
    CountryPortugal
    CityLisbon
    Period06/09/201609/09/2016

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