The First of Many Weathering Steel Clad Buildings

Weathering Steel Building

The First of Many Weathering Steel Clad Buildings

While weathering steel is used for countless architectural applications today, it has not always been that way. Originally, weathering steel was widely used to construct hopper cars, passenger rail cars and shipping containers. Its strength and corrosion-resistant qualities were ideal for these applications. 

The United States Steel Corporation (USS) patented atmospheric corrosion-resistant steel under the trade name Cor-Ten® back in 1933. The name is a combination of its two main features: “cor-rosion resistance” and “ten-sile strength.” Cor-Ten was and is still designed to be used where higher strength and longer life cycle material is desired. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that architects began discovering the many ways to use weathering steel…

John Deere Headquarters: The First Weathering Steel Clad Building 

In the 1960s, Architect Eero Saarinen was commissioned by William Hewitt, the President of John Deere, to design a distinctive building for their new headquarters in Illinois. Hewitt envisioned a modern, yet down-to-earth, rugged and practical building that would reflect the company’s clients and their business as an agriculture equipment manufacturer. 

Offering both practical and aesthetically-pleasing benefits, weathering steel was the clear material choice for the exterior structure of the building. The patina layer that weathering steel develops as it is exposed to weather not only protects the structure against corrosion, but also yields a rustic texture and orange-brown color, which worked well for John Deere’s Headquarters and continues to work for other architectural structures. 

Completed in 1963, the building marked the first use of weathering steel in an architectural application and still stands today flaunting a patina that is aged to perfection. As the first-use of “exposed and intentionally self-rusting steel,” Architect Magazine noted that the John Deere building exemplified “a quiet revolution” in the design of corporate buildings, which occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s.   

About Weathering Steel Cladding

Cladding is a type of exterior layer that covers the exterior of a building or home and offers protection, much like siding. Cladding panels perform both a functional and aesthetic purpose by protecting the structure from exterior elements, while also providing the desired finish for the building or residence. Metal cladding has been around for decades, but it has recently made a big comeback in architectural design, particularly using weathering steel.  

Weathering steel cladding can be used for commercial buildings, like John Deere’s Headquarters, retail spaces, residential homes and more. Check out a few examples of weathering steel cladding here. 

Contact Central Steel Service For ASTM A606-4

Weathering steels are a family of ASTM specifications, as well as several trademarked specifications exhibiting similar corrosion resistant properties. The ASTM specifications are A588, A242, A606-4, A847, A871-65 and A709-50W

ASTM A606-4 is commonly used by architects for weathering steel cladding. As a high strength, low alloy steel with improved atmospheric corrosion properties, ASTM A606-4 contains additional alloying elements and provides enhanced corrosion resistance. Contact one of our experienced sales representatives to learn more or request a quote.