St Andrew Square, Edinburgh UK by Hoskins Architects and CDA

28.10.2019

“Various metals were appraised and a group of copper alloys from Aurubis identified to ensure long term quality and handsome weathering. From these we selected Nordic Royal, an alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc, offering a distinctive golden colour”

Brushed Nordic Royal copper alloy fins help define a major redevelopment that completes a historic square in Scotland’s capital.

Comprising 9,300m2 of ‘Grade A’ office space, 6,500m2 of leisure and retail, and a suite of luxury apartments, the redevelopment occupies most of the southern edge of St Andrew Square in the heart of Edinburgh’s Georgian ‘New Town’ World Heritage Site. Designed by Hoskins Architects and CDA, the scheme involves a massing strategy of projections and recesses, reflecting the scale of historic plots on this side of the square. A series of metal and stone fins enables the complex to be very ‘open’ when viewed directly, taking advantage of the extraordinary long views and maximising daylight, whilst appearing solid in oblique pedestrian views.

St Andrew Square, Edinburgh UK by Hoskins Architects and CDA. Brushed Nordic Royal copper alloys from Aurubis.
Photo: dapple photography

A series of metal and stone fins enables the complex to be very ‘open’ when viewed directly, taking advantage of the extraordinary long views and maximising daylight, whilst appearing solid in oblique pedestrian views. Various metals were appraised for the fins and a group of copper alloys from Aurubis identified for long-term quality and handsome weathering.

St Andrew Square, Edinburgh UK by Hoskins Architects and CDA. Brushed Nordic Royal copper alloys from Aurubis.
Image: CDA & Hoskins Architects.

Nordic Royal Fins

Hoskins Architects commented:

‘The idea of a veil of fins was evident in the very earliest sketches. Their materiality, construction and integration into a glazed envelope were key preoccupations throughout the design phase. The design team and client took very seriously the responsibility of selecting the right metal for a distinctive, durable, high quality piece of architecture in such a sensitive urban context.

‘Various metals were appraised and a group of copper alloys from Aurubis identified to ensure long term quality and handsome weathering. From these we then selected Nordic Royal, an alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc, offering a distinctive golden colour. But we specified a bespoke degree of ionized finish to give a quick transition to a relatively matt golden hue. This material will change in subtle ways over time rather than dramatically weather, as would mill finish copper or brass. Under northern grey skies the metal offers a welcome and rich contrast to the grey/blonde sandstone of the New Town and, in low sunshine, accords with the autumnal leaves of the square’.

Finally, Nordic Royal was selected – a golden alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc, giving a rich golden through-colour that is very stable. It retains its golden colour and gradually loses some of its sheen as the oxide layer thickens with exposure to the atmosphere, resulting in a protective matt finish. In order to accelerate the process for this project, Aurubis treated the Nordic Royal to give a non-reflective, brushed surface that will then change in subtle ways over time.

St Andrew Square, Edinburgh UK by Hoskins Architects and CDA. Brushed Nordic Royal copper alloys from Aurubis.
Nordic Royal – a golden alloy of copper with aluminium and zinc, giving a rich golden through-colour that is very stable. Photo: dapple photography

Nordic Copper Alloys

Other alloys from Aurubis include Nordic Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, initially with a similar colour to Nordic Standard, gradually changing to a stable, dark chocolate brown. Nordic Brass – which can also be supplied pre-weathered – is an alloy of copper and zinc with a distinctive golden yellow colour. When exposed to the atmosphere, the surface begins to darken within weeks and can change to a dark brown in around a year.

Discover Nordic Copper

In addition to Nordic Blue and Nordic Green pre-patinated copper, other Aurubis ranges 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. Aurubis copper alloys include Nordic Brass – now available pre-weathered – Nordic Bronze and the innovative Nordic Royal with a long-lasting golden colour. An extensive choice of Nordic Décor mechanically applied surface treatments is also available, particularly suited to interior design.

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