3 Innovative Polymer Composite Rooftops

Architecture was born from innovative utilization of the materials that humans had on hand. One of the earliest building components ever discovered is comprised of mere mud, sand, and water with an organic binder material. Mud-brick dates back as early as 6500 BCE and is still used to construct adobes and homes in arid climates across the world.

The composition of new construction materials is a talent that has pervaded human innovation from ancient times into the modern era. Concrete is another composite material composed of aggregate clinker and a cement paste that hardens into a solid structure over time. It has been used to create modern skylines and historic buildings alike. The staggering domed roof of the Roman Pantheon remains the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world.

Polymer composites are the latest in an extremely long line of architectural composite materials. They are manufactured by reinforcing a functional liquid resin matrix with an inorganic fiberglass textile, before the near-net shape is cured and profiled. The properties of the end-product typically depend on its constituent parts, yet polymer composites have a reputation for lightweight and high-strength performance in demanding areas of application.

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Architects are still exploring the boundaries of what polymer composites are capable of in domestic, industrial, and commercial spaces. However, Strongwell has already supplied the reinforced polymer composites for numerous innovative architectural projects, including novel green rooftops and aesthetic cellular screens.

This blog post will explore three innovative rooftop projects designed using Strongwell’s polymer composite products:

  1. Radial Polymer Composite Rooftop Screening

The obvious benefit of using polymer composites for rooftop architecture is the enhanced strength-to-weight performance of the material compared to all other structural alternatives. This enables architects to design more elaborate and aesthetically-pleasing rooftops that do not compromise the structural integrity of the building. It can also provide improved functionality in the digital age.

Polymer composites are preferential for rooftop screenings as they are electromagnetically transparent. Radio waves and electronic frequencies can pass through their reinforced matrix with no loss of signal strength. Cellular arrays and cables on commercial buildings are commonly screened using attractive fiberglass shapes that can withstand high wind speeds, shielding sensitive communications equipment from view and from adverse weathering.

EXTREN® Structural Shapes were used to construct a striking radial screen around the cellular array on a rooftop in West Los Angeles.

  1. Sustainable Rooftop with Polymer Composite Grating

Polymer composite gratings are broadly used to manufacture walkways and bridges in industrial facilities, yet a sophisticated rooftop design geared towards improved sustainability called for the use of DURAGRATE® fiberglass products and EXTREN® structural shapes.

In a bid to revitalize the Gordon Persons Building in Montgomery, Alabama, architects designed a green roof capable of absorbing stormwater runoff. This is believed to reduce the urban heat island effect while providing additional insulation to buildings and improving internal air quality.

  1. Polymer Composite Tiling

The extraordinary versatility of polymer composites in architectural spaces is best exemplified by a project in Bothell, Washington. Two buildings were topped with cellular screening modules that were tiled with SAFPLATE® fiberglass plates, creating a textured grid pattern that matched the ceramic tiling on the original office buildings. Alongside the obviously reduced installation costs, this provided additional benefits in the form of cellular transparency and aesthetic uniformity.

Polymer Composites from Strongwell

Strongwell is an authority in the design and supply of polymer composites for a broad range of application areas. If you are interested in more architectural applications of our unique products, read our previous blog post: 4 Striking Architectural Designs Using Fiberglass Products.

Otherwise, contact us directly with any more questions about our polymer composites.