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Hour by hour and day by day, different topics are trending on Twitter, or Yahoo, or any other site that keeps track of those types of things. What's trending usually has to do with what's going on in the news that day, or what happened on TV the night before. And while those trending topics are likely to change a lot in a 24-hour period, there are some trends that stick around for a bit longer than that.

Fashion or shoes, for example, tend to be trendy for a season, or maybe even a year or two, if lucky. But trends in the architecture and construction world usually continue for several years, as it may take a few years to even officially become a trend.

In this month's special feature, Paul Deffenbaugh takes a look at some of the current trends of metal in the architecture world. From its versatility to its recyclability, the article looks at how metal is being used as an essential building material and how it is influencing the future of architecture.

We also take a look at Jason A. Silva, AIA, partner and design principal at Sacramento, Calif.-based Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects, who started a group called SacDigiFab based on the idea of sharing digital fabrication concepts and rapid prototyping full-size mockups with corrugated cardboard. These digitally fabricated designs can be directly transferable to metal forming, allowing architects and designers to create functional spaces unlike ever before.

Also, make sure to check out the use of metal on Penn State's Millennium Science Complex, in State College, Pa. Designed by internationally renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, New York City, the state-of-the-art facility is home to the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and the Materials Research Institute, two of the school's premier research organizations.


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