Each year the North American Copper in Architecture Awards acknowledges and
spotlights selected North American building projects for innovative and exceptional use of
architectural copper. The architectural copper awards program highlights a wide scope of projects which
highlight craftsmanship, attention to detail, and architectural vision. Copper has historically long been used for its great natural
beauty and finish, it's durability and performance, copper's long service
life and recyclability. Copper is still today a superior building material and also one of most eco-friendly and green building materials, which is being utilized and adapted for an ever wider variety of contemporary and
cutting edge building and architectural applications. Three of the twelve copper in architecture award winners are described and shown below.
Waipolu Gallery and Studio, Oahu, Hawaii
(photo credits Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC - Courtesy Copper.org)
The Waipolu Gallery above uses copper wall cladding and copper roofing which were chosen for this project as copper will perform well over a very long time and with very little maintenance in a very corrosive ocean side location. Copper's beauty and fluidity compliment the modern art contained within the structure. The copper provides a softer contrast to the other more linear materials used. Excellent workability or malleability of copper was advantageous allowing easy re-working or shaping on site. The building architects also like there will be changes in copper's patina or color over time, producing an ever evolving work of art. The studio with it's stainless steel, glass and concrete linear space is joined by a floating glass bridge to the copper clad gallery. The glass bridge rises above a limestone staircase which connects the building's three levels.
Mark Olsen Residential Project, Holladay, Utah
(photo credits David Daniels of David Photography - Courtesy Copper.org)
The Mark Olsen Project exhibits excellent old world craftsmanship, with a copper roof and other architectural copper features such as copper finials, copper gutters and ornamental downspouts with copper conductor heads, copper crown molding, fascia and soffit, copper chimney top shroud and extended copper window box. This stately home has exquisite detailing and exudes quiet elegance from it's naturally weathered copper features. 16,000 pounds worth of hand crafted architectural copper work are used for this home's architecture. The copper roof is comprised of diamond shaped interlocking copper shingles, copper ridge vents and flashing. Of note, no sealants were used, only traditional craftsmanship and installation techniques were employed along with some soldering work on the copper gutters providing very long term durability with little to no maintenance required.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Charleston, SC
(photo credits Steven of the Churches of Charleston Project
& Jeni Rone of Sea Star - Courtesy Copper.org)
One hundred fifty years in the making, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, South Carolina has at long last been restored after being completely destroyed by fire in 1861. A soaring neo-gothic style copper spire, which had long been planned, was finally realized this past spring. The stunning beauty of the copper spire with it's gold leaf finished copper cross can be seen across the Charleston skyline and out to Sullivan Island. The cathedral's tower was finished with a stone veneer and at it's top there are four copper clad archways with copper torch finials. The copper spire with gold-leaf copper cross finial is perched on top at center of the copper arches. The 200 square feet of gold leaf which covers the cross will last at least 40 years without touch-up while the crowning copper art work comprised of arches, finials, spire and cross at the peak of the cathedral will last and stay beautiful for generations to come.