Winning Ways With Nordic Copper

26.9.2018

Two winning projects in the UK’s ‘2018 AJ Retrofit Awards’ are characterised by contrasting Nordic Copper products, both demonstrating copper’s unique combination of heritage and contemporary capability.

The fascinating Royal Academy of Music

Ian Ritchie Architects’ ingenious project for the Royal Academy of Music, in a particularly challenging historic London location, was the overall awards winner. Hidden behind the protected façade of the Royal Academy of Music’s Edwardian premises, surrounded by protected buildings and located within the Regent’s Park conservation area, two distinct, outstanding performance spaces have been inserted. Seamlessly integrated within the historic site, the project is expressed by facades and roofs clad in Nordic Blue pre-patinated copper from Aurubis.

Copper inspiration

Ian Ritchie said: ‘I grew up in Brighton and have always been fond of the copper roofs there, naturally patinated a turquoise blue by the sea air. Our interest in Nordic Blue copper goes back to 2004 and instigated research and development carried out by its manufacturers for a previous project. For the Royal Academy of Music project, Nordic Blue Living 1 provides just the right hue which will continue to develop naturally over time’.

Nordic Blue is a factory-applied patina developed with properties and colors based on the same brochantite mineralogy found in natural patinas all over the world. As well as the solid patina colors, other intensities of patina flecks revealing some of the dark oxidized background material create ‘Living’ surfaces.

Photo: Adam Scott

Photo: David Grandorge

Connected by a glazed cloister enclosing a serene garden, the pavilions are clad with interlocking Nordic Bronze shingles using concealed fixings and set out in a distinctive, plate-like pattern conceived as being reminiscent of the flaking bark of the surrounding plane trees.

Photo: David Grandorge

The architects chose Nordic Bronze as a light-weight material that will weather from a bright copper colour to an even earthy chocolate brown. This colour will allow the building to sit quietly within the graveyard, allowing the garden and church the strongest presence.

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