Celebrating the beauty and versatility of copper and its alloys, the eighteenth iteration of the European Copper in Architecture Awards attracted entries ranging from major public buildings to modest interior elements. The expansion and development of the biennial Awards—from their beginnings as a UK competition—mirrors a fundamental change in the use of copper in buildings, from a practical roof covering to a highly architectural material for many building elements, with endless possibilities for design.
Gathering at the British Academy to make their selection, the judging panel—all previous Award winners—consisted of Craig Casci (GRID Architects, London), Ebbe Waehrens (BBP ARKITEKTER, Copenhagen), Maxime Enrico (LAN, Paris) and Ville Hara (Avanto Architects, Helsinki). Their shortlist comprises projects that stood out from the rest thanks to bold and original typologies and design approaches, and exceptional architecture.
The best schemes usually jump out straight away,’ observes Craig Casci of GRID Architects. ‘What I find heart-warming about these Awards is seeing buildings that could be banal—infrastructure that could lack investment and imagination—using high quality materials and design. It’s great when you can see that at a bus station or a public square, and not just in places you would make a particular point of visiting. The use of copper in these buildings is also very interesting. The material’s qualities have been considered and used, and its aging process will be appreciated as the buildings change in the forthcoming decades.’
‘We have a very varied field here, with very different scales,’ adds Ebbe Waehrens of BBP ARKITEKTER. ‘These are very nice projects that create discussion around architecture. They use copper thoughtfully in the context of their surroundings. Copper will evolve over time. New copper will act as a mirror, as it darkens it may resemble brick and finally it will be a rich, familiar green.’
‘What I found extremely interesting was the variety of entries, from sculpture to massive office buildings,’ says Maxime Enrico of LAN. ‘We see different levels of urbanity, and an exploration of the various uses of copper. There are specificities such as reflections, or something contrary like surface evolution and colours. The projects we chose encompass these different qualities and the technologies used to create them.’
‘For me, it was hard to judge this. The buildings are like apples and pears,’ notes Ville Hara of Avanto Architects. ‘They are all in very different contexts, but the quality is consistently high. People are investing not just in grand-scale buildings, but also in small infrastructure projects. It’s wonderful to see how copper can add value to a broad range of buildings.’
The Public Choice Award
Inviting the public to select their favourite shortlisted project, the Public Choice Poll aims to generate dialogue with all those interested in architecture and copper’s place within it. To make a selection, visit copperconcept.org/awards. Voters will need to register for a free account, and will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Mini. The poll closes on 31 August 2017.
Walmer Yard, London, UK - Peter Salter Associates
Six Houses in the Barn, Sesto san Giovanni, Italy - GINO GUARNIERI ARCHITECT - ROBERTO MASCAZZINI ARCHITECT
Bosruck Tunnel, Bosruck, Austria - RIEPL RIEPL ARCHITEKTEN ZT GMBH
Communal Stage, Trondheim Town Square, Norway - HUS arkitekter AS
Lahti Travel Centre, Finland - JKMM Architects
HYDROPOLIS, Education Centre, Wrocław - Pracownia Projektowa ART FM
Maersk Building, Copenhagen, Denmark - C.F. Møller
Suvela Chapel, Suvela, Espoo, Finland - OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture
The Overall Winner, Commended projects and Public Choice Winner will be announced later this year.