Wall materials

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright April 2009, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

❖ Modern Materials


In-situ concrete

TQ3080 : Hayward Gallery by Graham Parker

Concrete blocks

SP2966 : All Saints Road by Robin Stott
A common method of construction often covered in render, or finished to emulate stonework.

Concrete panels

SO6189 : Concrete house by John M J3373 : Former social security office, Belfast (January 2008) by Albert Bridge SK9771 : Ryvita House by Richard Croft

Fibre Cement cladding

TQ9020 : 1 Burra Way, Rye by Oast House Archive TQ8212 : Fibre cement cladding, Elphinstone Road by Oast House Archive
A modern material used for weatherboard and cladding in place of traditional timber painted and stained boards. "CedralExternal link" is a marker leader in the UK. Its use has been popular since the 2000's.


Rendered concrete block walls

TG1423 : New house in Perrys Lane by Evelyn Simak

Pebble dash

TQ4382 : East Ham: Hameway, E6 by Nigel Cox


Cedar cladding

SO9398 : St Matthews Place on Willenhall Road by John M SJ9902 : Furlong House by John M SJ9400 : The new Wednesfield Library nears completion by John M

Douglas Fir

SO9197 : St Luke's CE Primary School by John M

Siberian Larch

TG2142 : Lifeboat Station by John M

Veneered plywood

SP0787 : Matthew Boulton Campus - Etna Street by John M


SU8712 : Inside the Weald and Downland Gridshell by Hugh Chevallier SU8712 : the Downland Gridshell by Janine Forbes
Not particularly well used method of construction. The whole building structure is constructed from a lattice grid of flexible wood. It allows for some organic and unusual shapes.

Curtain walling

Commonly built around steel and concrete framed structures.

Metal panels

TL8564 : Debenhams, Arc Shopping Centre, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk by Oast House Archive TQ3476 : Peckham Library by Richard Rogerson TQ3379 : Modern Building on Druid Street, London by Oast House Archive SP0786 : Selfridges Store, Bullring, Birmingham by Derek Reynolds

Weathering Steel

Although used for bridges it is fairly unusual material for buildings but is now possible with new steel formulations and the reduction in sulphur dioxide pollution. Often known by its trademark Cor-Ten it only comes in the one colour.

SJ8597 : Piccadilly Station Car Park by John M SE2934 : Broadcasting Place by SMJ

Asbestos panels

Used in many building materials, and widely used from the 1930's to the 1970's. Despite its health risks being known before the 1900s, it wasn't until the late 1980s that it was banned in many countries. It still existing in many buildings and most is safe until disturbed.

TM0219 : Barn, Bridleway and Ripening Barley by Glyn Baker


As double and triple glazing technology improves, curtain walling systems are becoming ever more popular.

TQ3266 : Office Block at East Croydon by Peter Trimming TQ3381 : City of London: the Gherkin  up close by Chris Downer

Concrete panels

see above

Structural Insulated Panels

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) are composite panels sandwich of structural panels and insulation. Built in a controlled factory environment and brought to site.

Solar Panels

Though not actually a walling product they are becoming an increasing feature of buildings. Usually seen on roofs they are sometimes fixed to walls.

SE2933 : Solar Panels, Park Lane College, Leeds by Rich Tea NT2471 : Solar wall by M J Richardson

Green Walls

Also called 'Living Walls'
A recent addition to the urban townscape.
TQ2564 : Green wall, Sutton town centre by MarathonSU1484 : Living wall, Brunel Centre, Swindon by Brian Robert Marshall SP0687 : Green Wall - Snow Hill by John M SP0687 : Green Wall (planting) - Snow Hill by John M

❖ Further reading

Wikipedia: GridshellExternal link

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