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What is Architectural Metal?

spiral staircase

People are often left scratching their heads when you tell them All Metals Fabrication (AMF) fabricates and installs architectural metal.

is metal fabrication that most of us see nearly every day. Another common term that might make more sense is decorative metal or ornamental metal.

architectural metal spiral staircase

As the name conveys, architectural metal is used in construction to make things look pleasing. Architectural metal often serves a dual purpose—one, it looks fabulous, and two, it is also functional.

Decorative railing, for example, looks amazing and can often be an elegant architectural statement, but it also keeps people from falling off stairways, landings and walkways.

architectural metal

The copper exterior roof panels on this temple look amazing, but they also keep the building watertight, shedding rain in the summer and snow in the winter.

Architectural metal is often used outside because of its amazing resistance to the elements.

Copper, again as shown on this temple, can often last for centuries without failing, fixing or falling in to disrepair.

That is great for the building owner and for the environment.

Where does a person see architectural, decorative or ornamental metal work?

Short answer—everywhere!

Airports, restaurants, museums, courthouses, football stadiums, casinos, hotels, universities—all these places usually have some form of decorative metal that stands out.

utah state stadium

Architectural metal is often a combination of support metal and finish metal. As seen in this photo of the University of Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, the dividers are a combination of aluminum tube—acting as the structure and aluminum perforated panels—acting as the decoration.

utah state university mascot

A similar concept is created at Utah State University’s Maverik Stadium with a little different twist. Laser cut logos run throughout the structural railing. It looks amazing and it keeps people safe!

convention hall

Sometimes, however, architects will throw down something that may well be just for decoration or looks.

These types of decorative features do not seem to have much function, but they look terrific.

Take the column tops in front of the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah.

At night, they have bright lights that shoot up through the aluminum structures and reflect purple, red, green and orange colors. It looks fantastic and that is what architects, after all, are paid to accomplish.

Davis Conference Center

Like the columns described before, here is a halo of sorts hanging out on top of a business park building.

Again, probably not super functional, but definitely looks architectural!

Architectural metal differs from structural metal for what may be obvious reasons. Structural metal holds a building together. It is the skeleton, so to speak, that is used to keep the building upright, earthquake-proof and stabilized. Architectural metal, on the other hand, is more about looking good; although, most is still engineered to ensure it stays in place without failing from weight load, wind load, etc.

Architectural metal is a mainstay in the construction industry because of its appearance, functionality and durability. AMF specializes in the architectural metal industry.

See more pictures and get more information on our architectural page, or contact us at

About the Author

spiral staircase

Rich Marker

All Metals Fabrication Owner and CEO

Rich Marker is an 18 year, skilled professional in metal fabrication and manufacturing. Co-founder, owner and principal of All Metals Fabrication, Rich has helped to sustain the company’s success over a variety of economic conditions. He has extensive background in continuous improvement, training and process improvement, and emotional intelligence—among other specialized proficiencies. He loves to learn, fly fish, watch college football and devour NY style pizza! He has the best family on earth, loves a good plan, great teaching and the opportunity to get better.

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