Architecture in the mainstream

Where the commercial sector has led, so the homeowner has followed, driving aluminium’s new appeal in the retail sector, according to Sliders UK’s Steve Mines.

You could argue that it’s simply down to the ‘Grand Designs’ factor. I’d suggest, however, that you need to look a little wider and a little further back to explain the blossoming that we’re now seeing in aluminium.

Yes, Grand Designs and a plethora of lifestyle shows, have brought architectural design into mainstream consumer consciousness. But you also need to look at where that’s come from.

The aluminium sector has been far more effective in communicating the material benefits of aluminium to a new generation of architects through training and CPD programmes, than any other door or window material type.

And it comes at from a great starting point. I’d argue that even the most stoic advocate for timber or PVCU windows could argue effectively against the core structural integrity and ultra slim sightlines offered by today’s thermally efficient aluminium systems.

The application of aluminium in commercial design and architecture, the slim sightlines and the possibilities that it has delivered have, by osmosis, exerted a defining influence on domestic and residential design as popularized by McCloud and co.

McCloud has tweeted that Grand Design’s most significant contribution to domestic architecture has been the aluminium bifolding door. And this too has accelerated the appeal of aluminium.

We supply two aluminium bifolding door systems. One from Aluk, and the Ultimate Evolution. Each exploits the inherent structural integrity of aluminium as a material-type to deliver exceptional design flexibility and ultra-slim sightlines.

They span bigger spaces, offer reliable through-life performance and deliver the defining architectural aesthetic that has crossed over from the commercial sector into retail design. Architects have an inbuilt preference for aluminium, and consumers aspire to it.

This has further accelerated the growth seen in aluminium. If you’re installing aluminium bifolds, extending your home, or adding an orangery or hybrid conservatory product, which are predominantly manufactured in aluminium, you’re going to want to match windows to it.

This has been key in driving demand for aluminium windows. With two aluminium bifolding doors, aluminium has been an integral part of our core offer for some time.

This has accelerated through our partnership with Aluk and the launch of the Ultimate Aluminium Window, manufactured in its proven 70mm Optio System.

Accommodating double and triple-glazed insulated units of 24mm to 40mm, it employs a polyamide thermal break design to achieve U-values as low as 1.2W/m2K. It’s also fully tested to PAS24 and is Part Q compliant.

We also offer the Ultimate Aluminium Inline Sliding Door manufactured in Aluk’s BSC94 system, plus a range of aluminium French doors and lantern roof, which means aluminium forms a key element in our own strategy and our offer to our customers.

It’s clearly not just us who are saying it. According to Palmer Market research, aluminium saw 24% growth in the last year, including 26% growth in volume terms and installed value by 28% in sales of aluminium windows.

We have refined our offer so that alongside their order of an aluminium bifold or sliding door, our customers can order aluminium windows, or even a lantern roof. This makes sense for us as a specialist fabricator of aluminium but also simplifies supply for anyone buying from us.

It’s all there for them on a single order with a single invoice and point of contact. This is perhaps another contributing factor. Aluminium is accessible but still commands a premium price at point of retail.

The Ultimate Evolution bifold encapsulates this, offering slim-sightlines and a strong architectural aesthetic but designed to significantly simplify setting and squaring, offering unique adjustment, makes installation far simpler, isless time consuming, and significantly lower cost.