Rustic avant-garde that ages gracefully corten in modern architecture

Corten (Cor-ten ®) is one of the hottest trends in contemporary architecture. A modern look can be created by simplicity in  design, clean lines and geometrical forms. However, modern architecture can be also characterised by its  innovative approach to materials. What used to be hidden, is now celebrated: structure of stained wood, raw, exposed concrete. And, of course, weathering steel. Architects appreciate its earthy, aged look, which has become a signature of many modern buildings.

Did you know…

One of the first architectural applications of corten was the buıldıngs of John Deere World Headquarters in Illinois, USA. The complex was designed by a Finnish architect, Eeto Saarinen, and opened in 1964. However, it was the Deere & Company President William Hewitt who wished to use corten in the construction.

Corten in modern architecture

After 1964, weathering steel needed to wait almost 30 years to be rediscovered (and loved!) by architects. We have seen the real celebration of corten in the recent years. Famous, astonishing Pacific Centre in Brooklyn (also known as Barclays Center) used 12 thousand corten steel panels, and has become one of the landmarks of New York. The modern shape contrasts with the oxidized and aged weathering steel. It is also an architectural dialogue with the historical Brooklyn’s brownstones. This contrast may be the reason corten is much admired by architects today. Raw, aged texture and the daring colour of corten ideally fits the modern, geometric constructions.

Make a statement with corten

It is not only the extraordinary, rusty  look of corten that made architects fall in love with this material.  Contemporary architects admire weathering steel for its ability to “speak” with the environment. It does age with time. It looks earthy and unusual. But  the beauty of corten lays in its entropy, unpredictability, changes the material experience over time.

Is corten right for me?

If you are looking for an unexpectable, modern look – than the answer is yes. Corrosion resistant steel is usually associated with impressive landmarks, such as 70 -meters high Broadcasting Tower in Leeds, Design Museum Holon  or Angel of the North. However, there are also many examples of using weathering steel for smaller buildings, such as houses or restaurants. BuyMetalOnline has delivered corten sheets to Western Bar in Brighton. Sophisticated rust has become a signature of the bar. Corten is very viable when used appropriately, and the oxidisation actually creates the layer that protects the steel from further corrosion. Thanks to this rusty look corten steel creates a beautiful connection between modern shape and traditional  environment. Visit our Pinterest board for tones of inspiration for corten usage.

Corten Prices

Being one of the largest Corten steel suppliers in the UK, we can offer weathering steel at a very competitive price. Visit our shop website or contact Sara at