European and Global Challenges

Industry Representation before European Aluminium

The Evolution of European Aluminium

Addressing Sustainability

Aluminium in Mobility

Aluminium in Building & Construction

Aluminium in Packaging

The Faces of European Aluminium
Fenny Bentley, Church St Edmund King & Martyr
The ceiling of the Beresford family chapel in the church of St Edmund, King and Martyr is made of decorated aluminium panels. It is one of the earliest recorded uses of aluminium within the realm of architectural construction.

© Webster
Rome, San Gioacchino’s church
The dome of the Church of San Gioacchino, clad in aluminium sheets, offers, more than 100 years later, a brilliant demonstration of the durability of metal.

San Gioacchino church, roof with aluminium sheets © Photo Padre Pietro
Vienne, Aluminium facade
for Die Zeit newspaper
The facade of the Die Zeit building was made up of aluminium panels cladding an iron structure. Designed by Otto Wagner, it constitutes a true manifesto of Viennese modernity. The interior decoration was also made of aluminium. In 1906 Wagner continued his exploration of the qualities of aluminium by using it in many ways in the Österreichische Postsparkasse building: columns, structure of the glass roof, lighting, heating vents and grills, furniture, etc.

Paris, International Exhibition
Numerous architectural and decorative works in aluminium were displayed at the Paris International Exhibition of 1937. Architects and craftsmen, encouraged by industrialists, engaged in a race for technical innovation and explored many new avenues for the use of aluminium in architecture and decoration, such as, for example colouration by the anodizing process.

Triumphal Way of Light and Radio on the Alexandre III bridge at the 1937 International Exhibition © IHA
England, the AIROH Houses
To alleviate a serious housing crisis and a shortage of traditional raw materials, the British government launched in the aftermath of WW2 a prefabricated construction programme based on the recovery of aluminium used in aeronautics. Over 50,000 AIROH houses (Aircraft Industries Research Organization on Housing) came out of the factories of the aeronautical industry converted for the occasion, using some of the 100,000 tonnes of scrap aluminium salvaged from destroyed aircraft.

Airoh houses. Left, Bristol Airoh House. Right, Bristol Tropical Bungalow, 1940
© Bristol Archives, 40826/HSG/29/1
Paris, Pavillon de l’aluminium on Communication
The architect and builder Jean Prouvé built a huge building on the banks of the Seine to celebrate the centenary of the chemical production of aluminium by the chemist Henri Sainte-Claire Deville in 1854. It was an opportunity to demonstrate the formidable qualities of aluminium through the roof, curtain walls, carpentry ... The building has been restored and is still visible today near Paris.
Two years later, in 1956, following the terrible winter of 1954, Prouvé designed prefabricated houses in collaboration with Abbé Pierre (Emmaus Foundation) to house the homeless.

Coll. IHA © Jean Prouvé / ADAGP Paris, 2021
Bruxelles, Atomium
Brussels hosted the first Universal Exhibition which followed the Second World War. For the Belgian pavilion, engineer André Waterkeyn designed a giant sculpture, accessible to the public and representing a ferrite crystal made of nine iron atoms magnified 165 billion times (!). The nine giant atoms were clad with aluminium, which by contraction gave its name to the sculpture “Ato-mium”, now one of the symbols of the city of Brussels.

A Working group to foster ”Aluminium
in the building industry”
A few years after its creation, EAA started to reinforce a market-oriented organization. Some working groups were devoted to the main markets of aluminium. A first report about aluminium in the building industry was presented to the General Assembly. In 1993, the groups would be transformed into strategic committees.

Aluminium windows and doors, Savigny-sur-Orge, France © IHA
Establishing the Building Market Group
Shifting the focus from a process-oriented toward a product-oriented approach, EAA decided to transform the strategic committees to market groups.

© European Aluminium
Birmingham, Selfridges Building
Designed by the architecture firm Future Systems, the building with its 15,000 anodized aluminium discs on its curved facade has become a symbol of the regeneration of Birmingham..

© Ethel Davies / AKG-images / Heritage Images / Then and Now Images
“Collection of aluminium from
buildings in Europe”
Within the Aluminium for Future Generations programme, the EAA commissioned Delft University of Technology to conduct a scientific study investigating aluminium content and collection rates in European buildings. The study monitored and gathered data on the demolition of a significant number of buildings in 6 European countries. The study found high collection rates, varying “between 92% and 98%, demonstrating aluminium’s pivotal role in the pursuit of full sustainability”.

© European Aluminium
European Aluminium Award in Renovation
The Aluminium Award in Renovation was launched to award reward the best use of aluminium in renovation, a sector where the qualities of the light metal are often underestimated. Among the criteria, the projects had not only to include a significant use of aluminium but also to aim at energy efficiency and meet the European environmental regulations and Life cycle thinking. The Italian designer and architect Ivo Pelligri was the first winner.

Renovation of ‘Torenflat’ in Zeist (Netherlands), from 2008 to 2010 © Frowijn de Roos, Architect, Kremers Aluminium
EPD Programme
Since 2006 European Aluminium has been running an Environmental Programme Declaration (EPD) programme for building products where aluminium plays a significant role, e.g. aluminium windows, doors, curtain walls, composite panels, cladding or roofing. In 2020, European Aluminium updated its EPD rules for the second time to be in line with the latest European standards.

Aluminium window recycling exhibition at European Aluminium's public event New Industrial Policy: what role for strategic value chains? (19 April 2018) ©European Aluminium
Making life easier for SMEs
Simplified procedures for SMEs inserted into Construction Products Regulation under European Aluminium impetus, allowing affordable CE-marking of construction products.

Black Swan, Strasbourg, France | © Elisabeth Leblanc | ALUCOBOND® A2 special colour Blue & Red | AAD Architecture Anne Démians | Bluntzer SNC®
Metals for buildings
Under European Aluminium impetus, ten European metal trade associations active in the building sector were brought together to create “Metals for buildings”, which advocates the recyclability of metals to standardization bodies and EU Institutions. (

Module D
In the new standard EN 15804 enabling the evaluation of the contribution of a construction product to the environmental performance of a structure, a new module was introduced: Module D makes it possible to evaluate the environmental benefits linked to the reuse, recovery or recycling of the product or materials such as aluminium. Initially only on a voluntary basis, declaring Module D became compulsory in the latest amendment of the standard in 2019.

Construction waste © European Aluminium
European Aluminium became part of E2VENT, an EU project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme dealing with the development of innovative energy-efficient ventilated claddings enabling low-energy architectural concepts for the refurbishment of existing buildings (

© E2VENT / European Aluminium
Paris, Philharmonic Hall
Inspired by the wooden lattice work (‘moucharabieh’) of the Arab World Institute in 1987, the French architect Jean Nouvel illustrated the numerous ways in which aluminium can be used in building. On the facades of the aluminium Philharmonic Hall, some 265,000 birds in aluminium sheet with iridescent tones cladding give the impression of a great flight.

Paris Philharmonia designed by Jean Nouvel © Gil Lefauconnier - Coll. Philharmonie
Milan, UK Pavilion for the Milan Expo
To illustrate the theme of the Expo, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, the English architect Wolfgang Buttress designed an impressive circular aluminium lattice structure evoking a hive, which was constructed from 169,300 individual aluminium components.

© AKG / Viennaslide / Harald A. Jahn