Trending Materials: Hot Rolled Steel

Contemporary design often celebrates the “honesty” of materials; leaving elements exposed or in their most raw state to capture the essence of that material, while simultaneously depending on the materials’ intrinsic quality and durability to last well into the future. Hot rolled steel is a relative up-and-coming material in the architectural world, but serves as a uniquely honest finish material, with a look like none other, and durability to boot.

Hot rolled steel utilized in a rain screen system as the exterior siding on a micro-cabin in Leadville, designed and built by a four student team including Fänas designer Kyle Plantico. The material was chosen for its low maintenance requirement, extreme durability, fire resistance and unique look. Photo Kyle Plantico.

The hot rolling process results in a distinct coloration and banding along the material, ranging from deep indigos and blues, to warm greys and hints of orange. As a steel product, the material is non-flammable and resistant to wear and tear. Any scrapes, abrasions or dents simply add to the already captivating texture. As such, it is suitable for both interior and exterior applications, particularly where non-flammable or durable surfaces are required, including fireplace surrounds and high traffic corridors.

A range of finish options exist for the material, from waxes and acid-washes to clear coat polyurethanes all of which subtly alter the coloration and texture to any number of desired aesthetics. Meanwhile leaving it untreated results in a slow, graceful patina towards a rusty orange. Regardless of finish treatment, the material is essentially maintenance free, with the passage of time only elevating the allure of the product. For exterior applications, where moisture can speed up the rusting process, a rain screen system, ample overhangs above, or regular application of finish treatments can maintain the original appearance of the material, or it can be allowed to slowly transform to a bright orange over decades.

Fänas has made use of hot rolled steel for multiple projects, most recently in the fireplace surround and television enclosure for the Park Avenue home to be featured in the upcoming Durango Parade of homes.  The steel’s inflammability makes it perfect for the fireplace surround, while its sheet form allows substantial flexibility in covering the rest of the build-out and doors that hide the TV and components behind.

Steel Fireplace surround and concealed TV enclosure in the Park Avenue home.

At Fänas Architecture, we would love to work with you to integrate beautiful and functional materials into your project. Contact us at 303.444.5380 or