slate siding

Check out the Slate Siding on this Contemporary French Hospital

In Educational Articles by Kendall Vrana

At home in the US, architects are just warming up to the idea of using slate, a popular and high-end roofing material, as siding. Over in Europe, however, slate siding is a familiar trend that has taken modern architecture to new and beautiful levels.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez Fernández http://nivelarte.com/fotografia-de-arquitectura/hospital-francia/#lightbox/1/
Architectural firm Rochetau Saillard fitted Valentin Vignard Hospital in La Roche-Bernard, France, with a chic slate siding that complements the building’s burnt orange facade. With slanted slate panels on alternating window bays, the structure has a dynamic, textured appearance that is a far cry from what is normally seen in hospital architecture.

slate-siding-hospital4The building’s unique, contemporary style also features zinc cladding, clever statement windows, and a bridged walkway between buildings. Constructed in 2004, the building was far from the first nor the last in embracing this modern architecture trend.

Benefits of Slate Siding

Slate siding is arguably one of the most durable construction products on the market. Naturally waterproof, non-porous and protective against hail, slate also maintains a “Class A” Fire Resistance rating, the highest attainable level for fireproofing building materials. Quality slate has an expected lifespan of over 100 years, and unfading selections ensure the facade remains the same appearance throughout its life. Slate siding is particularly helpful in cutting back on electrical bills, as its thermal and acoustically insulating properties maintain a stable internal temperature and lessen the reliance on heating and cooling systems.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez Fernández http://nivelarte.com/fotografia-de-arquitectura/hospital-francia/#lightbox/1/
Additionally, slate is one of the more environmentally friendly building materials available. Due to its natural properties, slate requires only minimal processing from quarry to construction site. Carved out of the sides of mountains, slate is hand-split by skilled craftsmen who test the quality of the stone before approving the stock. Eliminating the need of heavy machine processing, the release of harmful CO2 into the atmosphere is avoided. No chemicals that may leak into the environment are added to the stone, and slate’s production requires less water than even environmentally-praised terra cotta tiles.

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A high quality material, adding slate to any home or structure often improves the market value. Due to its strength against the elements, long life and classic beauty, many high end homes and structures specify this coveted material.

Want to see more inspiration from Europe’s slate siding trend? Check out the gallery below: