Nordic Copper skyline crowns the new Ram Quarter4.2.2019
Ram Quarter is an exciting new mixed-use development at the heart of the London Borough of Wandsworth. One of the scheme’s most striking architectural elements is its rooftop cladding of Nordic Green Living 1 pre-patinated copper, intended to reflect the site’s intriguing industrial heritage.
The site was formerly home to the Young’s brewery and its regeneration has encompassed the restoration of historic buildings alongside the construction of stunning new-build apartments. Greenland Group UK, the developer of Ram Quarter, was keen that the site’s material specification should reflect its history and deliver high-quality design and long-term durability.
EPR Architects, the appointed architectural practice for the scheme, was tasked with ensuring that the development design complemented both the industrial character of the site and its transformation into a residential neighbourhood.
EPR Director Pascal Wensink explained: ‘The Brewery had evolved in line with modernisation of beer production, resulting in a wide variety of building sizes, architectural styles and materials. The older, more interesting buildings used traditional brick and most were retained within the masterplan, including the prominent brick chimney – a constant on the Wandsworth skyline for over a century. The bricks for new buildings pick up on the tonal quality of the retained structures and other buildings within the neighbouring conservation area.’
Inspired by Copper History
‘The oldest fermenting and brewing vessels within the old brewery were copper. It was this association that inspired us to predominantly clad the upper two floors of the tallest residential buildings in Nordic Green Living 1 copper. Here, it works well alongside our brick selection and also zinc clad elements that help differentiate the buildings visually.
‘Adjacent to the historic brewery complex we introduced a playful vertical expression to one of the new buildings – a nod to the industrial vats that once covered the site. This part of the building is raised from the ground with softer rounded corners and vertically-ribbed profiled Nordic Green copper cladding, with a GRC concrete soffit.’
The Nordic Green Living 1 copper used at Ram Quarter is part of an extensive range of pre-patinated surfaces from Aurubis, developed with properties and colours based on the same brochantite mineralogy found in natural patinas all over the world. Essentially, they bring forward changes that happen over time in the environment without taking away the integrity of copper as a natural material.
Photos: Anthony Weller
Integral Pre-patinated Surfaces
All these surfaces form an integral part of the copper and are not coatings or paint, and ongoing changes will continue over time depending on the local environment. As well as the solid patina colours, ‘living’ surfaces provide various intensities of patina flecks revealing some of the dark oxidised background material.
The three phases of Ram Quarter will deliver 713 homes ranging from studios to 4-bedroom duplexes, and nearly 100,000 sq ft of shops and community and leisure facilities over 8 acres. The development is located on the banks of the River Wandle, this section of which has now been opened to the public for the first time in centuries through the redevelopment. The River Wandle is an iconic part of Wandsworth’s identity and has played a major role in its economic and industrial history. It now provides residents with the opportunity for waterside living in the heart of one of London’s most sought-after villages.
Photo: Chris Hodson
Nordic Copper Surfaces and Alloys
In addition to“Nordic Green”, extensive“Nordic Blue” and “Nordic Turquoise” ranges have been developed. A wide choice of “Nordic Décor” mechanically applied surface treatments is also available. Other Nordic Copper ranges from Aurubis include “Nordic Standard” ‘mill finish’ and “Nordic Brown” pre-oxidised copper, offering lighter or darker shades of brown determined by the thickness of the oxide layer.
Nordic Copper alloys include “Nordic Brass” – which can also be supplied pre-weathered – and “Nordic Bronze”, an alloy of copper and tin, initially with a similar colour to Nordic Standard, which gradually changes to a stable, dark chocolate brown. The innovative“Nordic Royal”, an alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc, enjoys a rich golden through-colour which remains very stable.