We oftentalk about Truth in architecture—whether looking for a purity of detailing, or utilizing materials that have a contextual connection to site or using materials together that recognize inherent traits. One can also talk about a material that demonstrates the truth of its existence in a particular place.

Materials that record their physical existence give such a sense of gravitas.  The war of sun, water, gravity and life can reveal the soul of a building where a material can record its toils.

These materials at times can isolate and betray the structure’s strength, laying its flaws bare.  At other times, it can allow a building to become one with its environment. Its patina echoing its neighbors. Like in Paris, limestone and copper blackens with soot and a block of multiple structures becomes one.  At other times, the elements soften a building’s materials to better blend it into the natural world.

That is the power of weathering steel to me.  Its warm cinnamon rust blends a structure into its environment, especially in my pine filled north woods. What was once foreign becomes worn and rubbed by the natural environment into a another tree, boulder and earthen mound, just part of the neighborhood. 

  • scene of boat on lake by rusty container
  • close up of rust on container
  • close up of rust on corten
  • rust starting on building
  • more rust on corten