Zinc and urban densification
In recent years, we have observed that our systems are widely used in renovations, especially for extending existing buildings. These adaptations sometimes concern the building envelope but they also make it possible, in urban contexts, to add surface next to or above a building. The use of our material in this type of project has demonstrated that it provides an effective solution to a larger problem: that of urban densification, which is currently a core issue for urban planners and elected representatives in numerous large cities worldwide.
Apartments, Bradford (United Kingdom) – Architect: Kraus - Schönberg
Why is urban densification
an important issue?
The vision of society consisting of huge housing estates in the suburbs or outer suburbs - a model that consumes vast amounts of space, resources, energy and travel time – is outdated. People are returning to the cities. In North America, the tendency today is to build medium height apartment blocks in the inner suburbs. In Europe, to avoid affecting the quality of historic buildings, the rare plots available are built on, but the tendency is to elevate buildings via roof extensions. Not all buildings lend themselves to it but the increase in number is significant. In Paris proper, it is estimated that over 11,500 buildings could be elevated for approximately 40,000 new apartments between 50 to 70 m² in size. This is becoming a real market in western capitals.
Zinc, an urban material
In recent years, we have observed that these elevations are increasing in number and feature splendid VMZINC cladding, both on roofs and facades. The architects we spoke to, gave us their recipe. Zinc is by definition an urban material. Its colours, in grey and subtly colourful tones, blend with practically all types of contexts, regardless of neighbouring roof materials (tiles, slate, metal...). Urban planning departments and architects in charge of Historic Monuments recognise and appreciate this neutrality.
Zinc, a lightweight,
Zinc is lightweight and blends naturally with wood (traditionally installed on timber boards) which is also a lightweight material enabling prefabrication (successive views of an elevation with prefabricated elements in Paris). There is no cause for apprehension when installing these lightweight structures on old supporting walls. The two materials also have positive environmental profiles, especially in terms of their recyclability.
Lastly, zinc has a major asset in that it can be installed on almost all slopes (5% to vertical). This is why it is often used to completely “wrap” these urban roof extensions which visually replace the pre-existing roof and it also ensures watertightness of finishing trim.