We live in an age where technological advancements have revolutionised architecture from design to construction. Whether it is 3D printing models to prove design concepts, developing highly engineered materials fit for purpose or adopting modular building as the next step in efficiency, the built world around us is becoming more creative and flexible.
Modern buildings need to meet a variety of criteria that were not concerns, historically: from stringent safety standards to environmental friendliness and low energy requirements, the key is not simply in design but in the application of new materials that meet these diverse needs.
Eva-Last’s Lifespan hybrid aluminium architectural beams are an example of a highly engineered building material that meets all traditional norms while allowing for a diverse range of aesthetic applications. Featuring a specialised aluminium core for easier installation at height and which is resistant to biodegradation, UV exposure fading, corrosion, biological pests (such as termites, fungi and bacteria) and even the harshest weather, Lifespan provides the look of timber beams without the upkeep of wood or susceptibility to the elements of alternative metal options.
Lifespan’s reinforced bamboo composite beam (Tri-extruded lightweight aluminium 6063-T5 core and cellulose–polymer composite cap), forms the basis of its extreme versatility and durability. With increased span capability, Lifespan is ideal for decorative architecture of all types, including pergolas, privacy screens, shutters, facades, gates, cladding and soffits.
Shaun Erasmus, Director: In-Market Technical Support for Eva-Last, says the range of profiles – some weighing as little as 0.78 kg per metre – makes Lifespan suitable for every application from lightweight non-structural features such as balusters and railing to decorative trussing and oversized pergolas. “Lifespan posts can even be used to create durable vertical railing and showstopping outdoor features requiring a high degree of tensile strength.”
A benefit which is often unnoticed by casual observers is that Lifespan’s colour-matching end caps provide a finished look while protecting the hollow chambers of the aluminium core. “Lifespan allows for greater design creativity than traditional materials like wood, and even where there are joins, no brackets are required,” says Erasmus.
The Lifespan range is available in the full Eva-Tech colour palette, offering classic and timeless natural colours in a matte finish to suit any design and colour scheme. Each colour evokes the essence of a particular timber application, in a neat, brushed finish that is both sleek and understated.
Unlike the timber its external appearance imitates, Lifespan is an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to wooden beams, requiring none of the maintenance associated with wood and features flexural stability that far surpasses equivalent timber profiles at reduced mass and weight. (Modulus of rupture (MOR): 60.0 MPa; Modulus of elasticity (MOE): 1.1 GPa.)
The manufacturing process includes the use of solar energy, further cementing it as a sustainable building product.
“Lifespan’s light weight construction prevents deflection, for aesthetic and structural benefits, and eliminates the need for timber sourced from old-growth trees that would be required to span similar distances.
This durable stability means no warping or flexing associated with timber alternatives, as well as unprecedented longevity of performance. Lifespan remains reliably true to its original specified profile and features a warranty of 10 years in all outdoor environmental conditions,” says Erasmus.
Lifespan’s beautiful durability belies its safety credentials, with a high degree of fire resistance that far outstrip those of traditional timber products.
“The application possibilities of Lifespan are almost endless. We have seen creative implementation of Lifespan in applications as diverse as the unique façade of the Protea Hotel in Pretoria, a feature wall at the South African head office of Leroy Merlin and for screening and cladding at the University of Pretoria’s engineering department building. In every case Lifespan has met a structural need with aplomb and created a design style statement while doing so,” Erasmus says.