The Use Of COR-TEN

COR-TEN, generally known as ‘weathering steel’, has come into favour with many architects and has been used in innovative building designs since the early nineties, the first use of COR-TEN A was in the Crystal Palace Concert Platform, designed by Ian Ritchie Architects which opened in 1996.


The high strength, low alloy, weldable structural steel came in to fashion because of its excellent weathering resistance and the continued interest in it’s use owes mainly to its characteristic orange-brown rusted aesthetic.

The steel’s weathering resistance is a result of the formation of a protective oxide coating, which seals the surface against further corrosion. If the coating is chipped or damaged, COR-TEN actually repairs itself to give continuity of protection and appearance.

In instances where maintenance is difficult, the use of COR-TEN is highly advantageous as it develops its own protective film, which slows the rate of corrosion. This is a huge saving in terms of the cost of initial painting and the maintenance costs of repainting.

COR-TEN also gives corrosion protection to unpainted areas, which have been damaged as well as the reduction in under-paint corrosion known as ‘creep’. With mechanical properties similar to conventional steels, COR-TEN can be used to construct lighter structures utilising well-established design practices but with the advantage of improved weathering properties.

Some of the more prolific architects using the material are Wood Marsh, known for the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Nonda Katsalidis, who, among other COR-TEN structures, created the MONA Museum in Hobart.

Kloeckner Corten Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts

COR-TEN landmarks closer to home include the iconic Angel of the North in Gateshead and Broadcasting Tower in our hometown of Leeds.

Kloeckner Metals corten Broadcasting Tower

COR-TEN is not only used within architecture and construction circles though, many artists have also fallen in love with the material on account of it’s sturdy yet malleable nature, not to mention it’s idiosyncratic visual appeal.

Linda Bowden for example is famed for ‘The Bridge’ her COR-TEN sculpture over looking the sea at Bondi Beach, Alex Pentek also found a use for the steel with his origami inspired ‘Rabbit’ which stands 6m tall in Ashbourne County Meath, near Dublin.

Kloeckner Metals Coten

Kloeckner UK offer, not only a vast stock range of Corten available for immediate call-off but also in-house services such as Flat Laser processing, Plasma or Oxy-Fuel profiling, Folding and bending.


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