Steel windows and doors are a beautiful and coveted aspect of many architectural design projects, creating an industrial and sometimes art deco design to buildings in all sectors of design.
Their use in architectural design can be dated all the way back to medieval period with local blacksmiths creating bespoke windows from wrought iron. As their craft skill increased so did the size of steel windows they were able to create, however, they were unable to produce large panes of glass at that time. So came the idea of joining glass panes together with slim metal sections – this is what we now refer to as ‘leaded lights’.
The manufacturer of steel windows eventually moved to factories that were able to create fixed and opening steel windows with slim metal framing and reduced the cost of these previously exclusive window designs.
In 1856 the process of hot rolling was perfected and it revolutionised the worldwide use of the steel casement window. This effective manufacturing technique for steel windows created a boom in demand with their slim metal frames being used on the most prolific architecture of the time, from houses, government buildings, factories, Bauhaus-inspired architecture and Henrietta Barnet inspired country cottages.
Demand for these slim framed steel windows dropped off in the 1970’s and aluminium took over as the most popular window framing material. However, thanks to the modern innovations in steel fabrication, steel windows and experiencing a new surge in popularity and a new lease of life.
The popularity of aluminium can mostly be explained by their low maintenance finish as well as their improved thermal performance due to thermal breaking, something that was not possible for steel window frames.
The advance of cold rolled steel profiles has allowed for the creation of fully thermally broken steel windows, enabling these once coveted and luxury windows to adhere to, and exceed, modern Building Regulations whilst maintaining their slim and elegant finish.
A two part thermal break system is the base of this improved thermal performance. A structurally reinforced core to the thermal break is made from extruded polyamide which helps to maintain the inherent strength of a steel frame and allows them to maintain such slim profiles. The thermal break is then filled with high-density polyurethane to increase the insulation values. The strong yet insulating steel window profiles can then hold a double, or even triple glazed, unit to create a fully insulating steel window. The resulting steel windows can achieve a Uw value of less than 1.0 W/m 2 K which is impressive for any type of metal window, especially steel.
Along with innovations in steel, frame performance comes innovations in their design. These modern, thermally efficient steel windows are perfect to recreate the Art Deco, industrial architectural designs that are so popular at the moment. By using these modern slim frames in a galvanised steel frame, powder coated to your preferred frame colour, you create slim metal windows which are a perfect match to traditional designs, but with the thermal performance required of modern buildings.
All are possible now with the innovations in steel fabrication.
Steel windows made from these interesting framing materials can create an exciting architectural design that is different and unique. You maintain the slim framing sections, the improved thermal performance from advances in thermal breaking, and inherent security of steel framing but in a design that is new and different.
Architectural Bronze Windows are popular on luxury building designs for their expensive look and feel. Architectural Bronze, or Brass, can be finished in a number of ways to create the antique appearance that most architects want when using these frames.
David Chipperfield used these ‘Bronze’ window frames to the exclusive De Vere Gardens Development in London . The use of this elegant framing material to the windows enhances the luxurious design to this high-end residential development. A similar design finish can be created using a Stainless Steel window or door system if a silver finished appearance is required.
Corten Steel frames will give an altogether different appearance. The weathered coating of Corten Steel is unique and textured, giving depth and interest to the window frames. Using this fascinating material for the window frames on your project is a bold design move but if executed well can create amazingly unique buildings that are easy to maintain with a finish that will not degrade.
With modern fabrication techniques and industry innovations, there is more scope than ever to incorporate steel windows and doors on your project.
IQ Metal UK are expert fabricators of bespoke and innovative steel windows and doors . They are able to create fully thermally broken windows made from galvanised steel , stainless steel , Corten steel or architectural bronze to suit your project requirements.