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Amlwch Copper Bins Visitor Centre, UK

Donald Insall Associates

Located within Anglesey’s historic Amlwch Port Conservation Area and “Copper Kingdom” the Visitor Centre incorporates interpretative displays to present adults and children with an understanding of the historic copper industry in Amlwch and Wales.  Copper is the centre’s very essence; its educative initiatives, engagement, new construction and very history being wholly reliant on this malleable, precious material.

During 2007 six empty eighteenth-century copper bins nestled in Amlwch Port, their decayed state a poignant metaphor for Amlwch’s copper industry; where the copper ore from Parys Mountain had been tipped for global export.

The effervescent industrial rock face upon which the rock was poured became a key interpretive feature. Occasionally scaled by the Trust’s climbers, the nineteenth-century copper stains and historic mechanical fixings create a unique backdrop both within and outside the building, and a more tactile and real representation than any exhibit.

With the bins’ remaining structure restored, the second bin’s extension was delicately distinguished by linear copper wraps to the elevations, whose new windows form a seamless part of the design. We sought to include elements with a mechanical rather than electrical resolve, feeling they better enhanced the sense of industrial ingenuity. The copper folding-doors and sliding shutters were integral in ensuring this authenticity, plus the notion of copper as a vernacular and historic material.

The copper used for the Copper Bins Visitor Centre was neither galvanised nor treated; we knew that the saline marine air would cause a swift catalytic reaction, and materials would soon alter with time because of the Port’s exposed location. To everyone’s surprise the copper took just six weeks to mature from a shiny patina to a deep purple-brown hue.

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Building

Owner: 
Amlwch Industrial Heritage Trust
Completion date: 
2013
Country: 
United Kingdom
City: 
Amlwch

Categories

Applications: 
Facades/fascia
Type of building: 
Cultural
Copper used: 
Classic
Estate: 
Upgrade

Architect

Name, office: 
Donald Insall Associates
Address & description: 
Bridgegate House, 5 Bridge Place CHESTER, CH1 1SA Telephone: 01244 350 063 Fax: 01244 350 064 Email: chester@insall-architects.co.uk

Copper contractors

Title: 
RL Davies & Son Ltd

Awards

Season: 
2013

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