House of Rusted Steel
Matching design details to standard-size Corten steel panels inside and out achieved a clean look with a minimum of metal fabrication.
For an artistic couple anticipating retirement and wanting to downsize in the southern foothills New York’s rural Hudson Valley , Studio MM designed a single-story, 1100-sq.-ft. contemporary residence with a façade that marries black-stained pine siding with Corten steel, a material the architect was excited to use for the first time. By aligning the 18-in. steel panels with the home’s perimeter and horizontal window edges, the architects achieved a clean look, while mindfully minimizing the cost of cutting metal to size. Corten’s material properties—maintenance-free and able to withstand harsh weather—were matched by aesthetics that appealed to the homeowners, who cherish their relationship with the agricultural buildings commonly seen in the local farming community. Corten will naturally oxidize, developing an organic rusted patina as it weathers over time, seamlessly integrating the home into its natural surroundings. In this case, many of the panels had already started rusting before they were delivered. Corten was also used inside the home for a fireplace surround with a built-in wood stove that anchors the main living space. For these interior panels, rusting was accelerated by spraying on a mixture of vinegar, salt, and hydrogen peroxide. This way, the panels could be installed in their finished state.
Designer: Studio MM, maricamckeel.com
Builder: Terrance Fink
Project Location: North Branch, N.Y.
Photographer: Brad Feinknopf
From Fine Homebuilding #300