Copper projects show their mettle

Moved decades ago from Holland (Netherlands) to Holland (Michigan), this 18th century windmill has a cap covered by nearly 2260 kg (5000 lb) of sheet copper, individually cut and hemmed from 20-oz. sheet copper before being secured with brass screws. In many cases, the uniquely curved shape of the cap required shingles be rolled by hand to ensure they lay flat against the roof contours. Photo © Brian Blank
Moved decades ago from Holland (Netherlands) to Holland (Michigan), this 18th century windmill has a cap covered by nearly 2260 kg (5000 lb) of sheet copper, individually cut and hemmed from 20-oz. sheet copper before being secured with brass screws. In many cases, the uniquely curved shape of the cap required shingles be rolled by hand to ensure they lay flat against the roof contours. Photo © Brian Blank

Winners of this year’s North American Copper in Architecture (NACIA) Awards ranged from Frank Lloyd Wright designs to relocated Dutch windmills to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

The program, run by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and the Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association (CCBDA), honors new and restored projects utilizing copper for roof detail, wall cladding, and ornamental design. This year, 14 new or recently restored U.S. buildings took the top spots.

St. Patrick’s, the 136-year-old Neo-Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral, underwent a massive restoration project last year, which included upgrading the cast bronze double-leaf doors and several copper architectural structures inside the cathedral. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the church is visited by more than five million people annually. The project team included architectural and bronze conservators, G & L Popian Inc., Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, and Structure Tone as general contractor.

The large bronze doors adorning St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Fifth Avenue main entrance were a late addition of the original 1949 wooden doors. The doors were fabricated and engineered following the blue prints of Charles Maginnis, which included hand-sculpted saints, religious figures, floral decoration, and symbols executed by the sculptor John Angel. When G & L Popian was selected to work on this project, the company conceptualized and implemented a feasible philosophy and practice by returning the bronze doors to the level of significance they deserved. Photo courtesy G & L Popian Inc.
The large bronze doors adorning St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Fifth Avenue main entrance were a late addition of the original 1949 wooden doors. The doors were fabricated and engineered following the blue prints of Charles Maginnis, which included hand-sculpted saints, religious figures, floral decoration, and symbols executed by the sculptor John Angel. When G & L Popian was selected to work on this project, the company conceptualized and implemented a feasible philosophy and practice by returning the bronze doors to the level of significance they deserved. Photo courtesy G & L Popian Inc.

Copper was also used to restore and preserve the 38-m (125-ft) tall DeZwaan Windmill, which was built in the Netherlands in 1761 and later reassembled in Holland, Michigan in 1964. Nearly 2270 kg (5000 lb) of copper, all individually cut and hemmed from 20-oz. sheet material, was used to shingle the windmill’s mill cap and flash the tower. Grand River Builders was the restoration contractor, while Elzinga & Volkers Construction Professionals and Verbij Windmill Design & Construction were the general contractor and supervising consultants, respectively.

Receiving an ‘Ornamental’ award, the Frank Lloyd Wright Filling Station (on display at the Pierce-Arrow Buffalo Transportation Museum in upstate New York) relied on the architect’s 1920s sketches. Copper was used for the standing seam roof, as well as for the twin totems, columns, cantilevered canopies, and hanging gravity gas pumps. The sheet metal contractor was Grove Roofing Services, and other project team members included Lauer-Manguso & Associates Architects and R&P Oak Hill Development.

“Based on the projects being awarded this year, we can see copper continues to play an integral role in architectural and building design,” said Andy Kireta Jr., CDA vice president. “Each year, the selection process becomes more difficult by the size and scope of the projects. Copper is being used in a variety of different applications for both new construction and restoration work, helping architects and developers add to a building’s longevity while preserving its past.”

The building projects were judged by a panel of architectural and copper industry experts, with entries evaluated based on overall building design, copper integration, installation craft, and excellence in innovation or historic restoration. For a complete list of winners and their project teams, click here.

FLWFill
Employing 440 individual pieces of 16-oz. copper, the new Frank Lloyd Wright Filing Station, inspired from the renowned architect’s sketches from the 1920s, now holds a place in the rich architectural history of Buffalo, New York. Photo courtesy Grove Roofing
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