Copper Architecture Forum magazine 32/2012 published
The Regeneration Issue
This entire issue is dedicated to the ingenuity of architects in regenerating the environments that we live and work in. Preserving and adapting existing buildings and townscapes to suit new uses is sustainable, saving on resources and making the most of assets. But it also carries with it a challenge for designers in developing their particular interpretation of history and context for the 21st century.
The diverse projects that we explore here demonstrate different approaches to this challenge and range from additions and interventions with existing structures, to new buildings interacting with the old to reshape urban areas. But one common strand runs through them all: the unique and numerous possibilities offered by copper and its alloys for architectural expression.
Our cover story ably demonstrates this. Here, brass-clad forms worm their way amongst the urban fabric, defining new vistas and a fresh focus on Lund Cathedral. Initially bright and modern, the brass surfaces will soon darken and mellow, taking on a timeless feel. The same quality applies to the pre-oxidised copper interventions to an historic Italian villa (p 18–21), redirecting axes and circulation to suit the building's new role as a hotel.
Copper's ageless and permanent nature is further reinforced by the brass elements added to a Spanish castle (p 34-35). Here, there is no pretence at literal reference but an abstract aesthetic totally in keeping with the massive stone remains. This approach has parallels with the use of copper to clearly express modern additions to a traditional Luxembourg village house (p 26–29). On a bigger scale, the new extension to a restored London warehouse (p 12–15) uses bronze cladding to define its thoroughly contemporary massing. In this case, an uncompromising form reflects the gabled profile of the original, creating a unified composition. A similar but lower key approach is taken with a London church extension (p 32–33).
The relationship of new and old linked buildings is also explored with a new country house 'orangery' (p 8–11) in the Netherlands. This fresh take on an old typology is a heavily glazed pavilion with a curved, green pre-patinated copper roof which bonds it with the original house. A more literal stance is taken with Warsaw's new water treatment plant (p 22–25) that refers strongly to the gabled forms and curved-head windows of its 19th century neighbours. Here, copper plays a more traditional role as a roofing material. And we consider the part played by copper in different forms – transparent and modulated – to regenerate uninspiring 20th century buildings (p 16–17 and p 30–31). We end as we began, with another example of a copper intervention reshaping the urban context of its older host - this time the former public baths in Thiene, Italy (p 36-38). Here, a redundant building has been given a new life as a unique youth centre defined by organic, curved copper shell additions.
We hope you enjoy this journey around these inspirational projects, where copper acts as a catalyst for inventive architectural and urban regeneration.
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See online edition: CAF 32/2012 online
Author: Editorial Team