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Cast iron façade panels

Kraton 230 is part of the Schiecentrale complex. This former electricity plant and the many large ships that used to moor here, are reflected in the building’s large scale and rough, bold image.

In 2001 the idea came up of cladding the building in rusting cast iron panels. Because this was thusfar (to our knowledge) a new and unknown technique, extensive research of the fabrication process was done by our office. Together with a producer a mock-up, among other things, was developed, where the rusting process was carefully tested and observed.


The facade material was derived from traditional street drainage lids, and is allowed to rust. By incorporating a smart drainage gutter system in the facade, all rusty rainwater is drained directly into the city sewer, without ever reaching the sidewalk or staining the windows.
Since iron rust is non-toxic, it can be drained into the sewer without any risk to the environment. Cast iron is also easily melted and recast and therefore a good candidate for recycling. Due to the slow rusting process the facade will first colour orange, and after a year slowly turn dark brown. Our own research has shown that a stable hard crust will form on the panels. The figuration of the panels is designed by Studio Job.

The 4000 cast iron panels of 90 by 45 centimeters where based on handmade wax casts. There are eight different patterns, inpired by the history and future of the harbour and industry of this location. The panels haven been arranged in a continuous pattern and attached to the facade with a specially developed system on which the panels are mounted with precast nooks on the back of the panels.