Monday, 7 January 2013


Penny Wise: 12 Cool Copper-Clad Buildings
By Steve,
Web Urbanist, 6 December 2012.

Copper’s fiery glow, relative abundance and famed durability have served civilization well for countless centuries. The metal‘s many attributes have also endeared it to architects of all ages, from all ages. Now a new breed of urban designers have warmed to copper‘s practical beauty, employing it to clad buildings of all sizes and why not: it doesn’t just make cents.

1. //hapo Museum - Tshwane, South Africa

copper-clad //hapo
Images via: Phaidon and Freedom Park

The //hapo Museum (“//hapo” means “hope” or “dream” in the Khoi language) was designed by GAPP, Mashabane Rose Architects and MMA to showcase over 3 billion years of South African history. The 11,000-square-meter (118,405 sq ft) building complex is clad with custom-made copper panels that are meant to age naturally, displaying a rich patina in response to the effects of sun, wind and weather.

copper-clad //hapo
Images via: ZArchitecture and Inhabitat

As the centrepiece of the Freedom Park located in Tshwane, near Pretoria, the //hapo Museum’s core design concept is meant to echo that of a traditional healer’s garden with faux rock outcrops enclosing story-telling areas. “With walls and roof all clad in copper sheeting,” state the architects, “the ‘outcrop’ will, with time, rust to green and merge with the natural landscape.”

2. Fujitsubo Beauty Parlour - Tokyo, Japan

copper-clad fujitsubo tokyo
Images via: The Motor, Architizer and Dezeen

Should not a beauty parlour itself be beautiful? Call it an exercise in zen philosophy if you like but the Fujitsubo (“barnacle” in Japanese) beauty parlour in Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando district is gorgeous any way you slice it. Credit Japanese architects Archivision Hirotani Studio with this exciting example of copper cladding applied continuously from rooftop to ground level.

copper-clad fujitsubo tokyo
Image via: Designboom

Copper sheeting laid in an overlapping shingle pattern climbs the parlour's triple-pyramid roof in horizontal layers while the vertical walls show off the traditional staggered brickwork design to best advantage. Bright and reflective when applied, the copper is expected to age incrementally to degrees dependent upon the varying amounts of sunlight and rain received at different areas of the structure.

3. Evesham Leisure Centre - Worcestershire, England

copper-clad Evesham Leisure Centre UK
Images via: Wychavon and Leisure Property

The Evesham Leisure Centre in Worcestershire, England, was designed by Limbrick Limited: Architecture and Design (now part of Roberts - Limbrick Architects) and opened in late 2009. The complex features two swimming pools, a climbing wall, a 100-station fitness room and a beauty salon but it was the building’s striking sea-green copper-clad exterior that garnered it the Vale of Evesham Civic Society’s Merit Award for 2011.

copper-clad Evesham Leisure Centre UK
Image via: TECU Consulting UK

In keeping with Evesham’s long, intimate and occasionally tempestuous relationship with the River Avon which runs through (and occasionally into) the town, the architects chose to apply pre-patinated copper cladding to portions of the building so that its final tinting would be set from the start. As copper is the longest-lasting exterior construction component in use today, the decision to “go green” from the get-go is perfectly understandable.

4. Waipolu Gallery and Studio - Oahu, Hawaii

copper-clad Waipolu Gallery Hawaii
Images via: Architype Review and PCS

Completed in 2010, the Waipolu Gallery on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was designed by Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, with “Dirty Penny™” copper cladding provided by Zahner of Kansas City. Stately, subdued but possessed of an ageless solidity, the structure appears as if it grew naturally out of the island’s primordial volcanic substrate.

copper-clad Waipolu Gallery Hawaii
Image via: Zahner

By installing pre-patinated copper, the Waipolu Gallery gets a jump start on the long road to antique verdigris while in the meantime, shows respect for the serious and subdued tone required by a facility of the Waipolu Gallery’s reputation.

5. Schloss Grafenegg Concert Hall - Grafenegg Castle, Austria

copper-clad Schloss Grafenegg Concert Hall
Images via: Dezeen

The Schloss Grafengg Concert Hall located in the grounds of Grafenegg Castle near Vienna, Austria was the subject of a nearly two year expansion and upgrade conceived by German architect firm schröder schulte-ladbeck. The architects were guided by the need to respect and complement the design and dimensions of existing buildings at the site.

copper-clad Schloss Grafenegg Concert Hall
Images via: Dezeen

The original intention was to use artificially weathered copper to clad the new concert hall but fortuitously, the firm chose instead to employ TECU® Classic copper sheets. The fresh copper gleamed as brightly as a newly-minted penny at the hall’s opening ceremonies but since then it has gradually and naturally weathered, presenting a slightly different appearance each time it is viewed. In time, the cladding’s patina will reach the rich green verdigris displayed by Schloss Grafengg’s existing aged copper trim.

6. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum - San Francisco, USA

copper-clad de Young Museum

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was founded in 1895 as a fine arts museum. The original Egyptian-style structure suffered severe structural damage in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, was rebuilt, and was damaged once again in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. Redesigned once more, this time by architects Herzog & de Meuron, the de Young Museum now occupies a copper-clad 293,000 sq ft main building with three levels highlighted by a 144-foot spiral tower.

copper-clad de Young Museum
Images via: Studio J. P.

The museum is deemed to be the world’s largest copper-clad building and its earthy tint matches and complements the surrounding landscape. Portions of the façade are perforated, diffusing sunlight in a way that not only pleases the eye from inside or out but also acts to protect gallery exhibits and artwork from the deleterious effects of direct sunlight.

7. New Market Centre - Church Coppenhall, Crewe, United Kingdom

copper-clad Crewe UK
Images via: Charles Welch

A skilled and perceptive photographer has the ability to coax sublime beauty from what appears at first glance merely mundane. Charles Welch of Crewe, England demonstrates he’s up to the task by snapping a moment or two in the life of the New Market Centre in Crewe, Cheshire, UK. Note the hints of verdigris contrasting with the mainly new, shiny copper sheeting at the lower edge of the second image - how many photos would Welch have to take daily before the entire expanse of cladding is green?

8. Svalbard Science Centre - Longyearbyen, Norway

copper-clad Svalbard Science Centre

Svalbard (formerly Spitzbergen) is a group of Norwegian islands situated up to 80 degrees north, far inside the Arctic Circle. Naturally the place is cold - the Svalbard Global Seed Vault wasn’t put there for nothing. Chilly or not, almost 3,000 people call Svalbard home and the Svalbard Science Centre in the capital city, Longyearbyen, is there to serve them.

copper-clad Svalbard Science Centre
Image via: Arch Daily

Designed by architectural firm JVA and built between 2003 and 2005, the Svalbard Science Centre encompasses 8,500 square meters (91,500 sq ft) of space and is the largest building in the island archipelago. Due to the inhospitable conditions both above and below ground, the building is timber-framed, set on stilts to avoid melting the permafrost, and its copper cladding is insulated against outside temperatures and overly curious polar bears.

9. ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation - Tempe, USA

copper-clad ASU Nursing College building

Completed in 2010, the $27.4 million Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation Phase II building (NHI2) is a triumph of sustainable architectural design. The building was recently awarded the Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) National Design-Build Award, and is one of only a few buildings in the U.S. southwest to have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design New Construction (LEED-NC) Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council.

copper-clad ASU Nursing College building
Image via: A/N Blog

The building is visually striking as well, sporting prefabricated copper exterior cladding that will gracefully age with the passage of time. Copper is synonymous with Arizona, both as a major component of the landscape and a reflection of the state’s long and successful history of copper mining.

10. Daeyang Gallery and House - Seoul, South Korea

copper-clad Daeyang House Steven Holl Korea

The Daeyang Gallery and House was designed by Steven Holl Architects and is situated in the hilly Kangbuk neighbourhood of Seoul, South Korea. Constructed over a nearly 4-year period and finally completed in 2012, the house’s basic geometry was inspired by composer Istvan Anhalt’s 1967 sketch for a music score entitled “Symphony of Modules.”

copper-clad Daeyang House Steven Holl Korea

The structure employs copper wall modules treated to bring out a warm patina. Portions of the exterior walls feature a rain screen crafted from custom-patinated copper intended to naturally age and in doing so, achieve visual harmony with the surrounding semi-arid landscape.

11. The Rock at Wellington International Airport - Wellington, New Zealand

copper-clad The Rock Wellington Airport New Zealand
Images via: Top Box Design

“The Rock” at Wellington International Airport was designed by Studio Pacific Architecture to, in the words of Wellington Airport CEO Steven Fitzgerald, “combine functionality and capacity with what will be a memorable visitor experience.” The structure‘s pleated and folded copper-clad walls are intended to invoke the character of Wellington’s rugged South Coast location. Roof fissures in the structure are inset with shards of coloured glass that let in natural light by day while back-lighting at night offers a visual treat to passengers arriving and departing the facility by air.

12. Villa ArenA Woonmall Restaurant - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

copper-clad Villa ArenA restaurant Amsterdam
Images via: Trendir

YouTube? More like FoodTube: the jaw-dropping, eye-popping restaurant at Amsterdam’s Villa ArenA Woonmall (a furniture superstore) is a copper-clad vision made real! Conceived and planned by London-based architects Virgile and Stone, the restaurant rests upon an octet of slender concrete columns while access is via a pair of footbridges connected to the mall’s upper level.

copper-clad Villa ArenA restaurant Amsterdam
Image via: Contemporist

If the design itself isn’t enough to grab one’s attention, the brilliant blue-green exterior should do the trick. Composed of oxidized TECU® copper panels, the restaurant’s walls display the final stage of copper oxidation which would not be normally achievable considering the structure’s location inside a roofed atrium.

copper-clad San Francisco Transamerica Copper Building
Image via: Mattman944

Copper remains a favoured structural and decorative material today, a tribute to the metal’s exceptional versatility and welcome durability. Proof of these attributes can be found during a downtown stroll in most any large city or town since once built, copper-y buildings tend to last…one might say in that respect, they usually come first.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]

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