Copper has been employed architecturally for centuries, but every year I’m impressed by the ingenious and unconventional applications architects and designers derive from this age-old metal.
Copper and Copper alloys are revered for their ability to seamlessly integrate modern design with traditional architecture and neighboring elements. Its character, durability, uniquely warm coloration and soft, reflective surface afford copper historical architectural associations and the latitude of a modern building material.
Sustainable, living, organic materials combined on a major scale with innovative design and respect for context, inspire expression, create dramatic statements and deserve serious consideration for a myriad of design applications.
Excellent Corrosion Resistance
Copper’s relative immunity to environmental conditions rests primarily on its natural ability to develop a protective patina. This process involves the formation of copper oxide, interspersed with cupric sulphide film, eventually culminating in a green patina.
The rate of patination conversion is dependent upon copper’s exposure to moisture, salt, and acidity from acid-forming pollutants. In marine climates, the entire patination process can take seven to nine years. In industrial environments, patina formation reaches its final stage in about fifteen to twenty-five years. In clean rural atmospheres with low concentrations of airborne sulfur dioxide, the final stage may take ten to thirty years to develop.
The patination corrosion rate decreases and is considered to average between 0.0001” and 0.0003” per year. For instance in a 0.027” thick roofing sheet, this equates to no more than 5% corrosion over 100 years. The lifespan of copper roofing and cladding can therefore be regarded conservatively as 200 years, subject to substrate and structure; some early applications are still performing after 700 years.
Conventional installation and fabrication techniques, similar to those used for other architectural metals, apply to copper and copper alloys. Its workability is comparable to zinc. Standard metal forming tools, processing and machinery are employed. Copper can be soldered, TIG welded and accepts adhesives and sealants well. Copper is available in coil and sheet widths up to 48” wide. Typical thicknesses from .020” to .125”-
Green Building Product
Sustainable materials are key elements of green buildings. Some benefits of sustainable materials include durability, long life, recyclability, and energy and thermal efficiency. Copper ranks highly in all of these categories.
A Cost Effective Building Material
Copper is competitively priced with other architectural metals. New, more effective production techniques, combined with an abundance of raw and refined ore, have improved availability. Copper’s corrosion immunity lowers its installed unit cost. Wellresearched designs that exploit its unique attributes and long-term savings from durability and low maintenance make copper a competitive architectural building material on a lifecycle basis. 25Year Coastal Warranty.