The use of copper cladding in architecture
25th June 2021
Copper is one of those materials that look as good on a historical building as it does on a modern, contemporary design. Few cladding materials possess that ability and because of that copper cladding remains a firm favourite with architects and building designers.
A factor that makes copper cladding the standout choice for a diverse range of contemporary projects is its durability, resistance to wind, rain and temperature fluctuations, along with its corrosion-resistant properties.
Combining tradition with modernity, Proteus HR TECU Classic Copper panels clad the entire exterior façade of a new extension on Newton Lodge, a historic building at Summer Fields Preparatory Boarding and Day School in Summertown.
Newton Lodge is one of the oldest structures on the 70-acre school site and was previously used as a boarding house for pupils. The addition of the new extension, alongside a complete redevelopment inside and out, has transformed the Lodge into the state-of-the-art ‘Summer Fields Pre-Prep School’ for children aged four to seven.
Proteus HR TECU Classic, a bright, shimmering, multi-tonal ochre-red copper cladding that will gradually fade over time to Verdigris green, was installed by J & PW Developments. The copper cladding wraps around the entire external façade of the extension, developed by the main contractor Edgar Taylor.
Designer Oxford Architects specified the ‘homogonous’ copper rainscreen cladding – including pre-formed corner panels, window reveals, heads, sills and rooflines – to create a clean modern look. It is envisaged that this innovative approach will both contrast and complement the historical character of the original Victorian-built Newton Lodge and other buildings dotted throughout the school grounds.
Proteus HR is an integrated modular rainscreen panel system featuring an aluminium honeycomb core, structurally bonded between two thin gauges of lightweight metal skin. This creates a lightweight, strong and versatile cladding system, whilst the sheer, smooth aesthetic of the optically flat panels achieves pure architectural sightlines. The honeycomb core also helps optimise the gauge of copper skin, contributing to budget expectations, and creating a rigid, slimline cladding panel.
The inclusion of the Proteus HR slimline panels at Summer Fields contributed to overall energy efficiency by allowing the incorporation of high levels of insulation within the underlying structure, whilst still maintaining the rear ventilated cavity. The copper cladding also provides Summer Fields with outstanding mechanical abrasion and weather and corrosion resistance properties as well as being maintenance free.
Proteus Facades fabricated the entire copper façade at its advanced manufacturing facility in Lancashire, including the copper pre-formed corner panels for installation on the window head and sills. These were instead of standard flashings to create crisp clean lines that reflect the classical geometry of the existing Victorian building.
These carefully considered design elements alongside the modern, structured façade and carefully retained heritage of the building are just some of the factors that led to the project receiving a Commendation in the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards. Judges commented that the building is a valuable asset to the school and the wider community by improving the streetscape substantially.
Summer Fields Pre-Prep school offers purpose-built education facilities for 80 pupils aged four to seven. Situated within the heart of the existing school site, the building includes modern, well equipped learning and library spaces as well as its own parking, gardens and playground, all within a secure, self-contained area.
Proteus offers one of the widest ranges of TECU Copper and copper alloy cladding in the UK. This includes TECU Copper, TECU Bronze, TECU Brass, TECU Gold, TECU Zinn, a tin-plated copper that has all the advantages of copper whilst weathering from silver to subtle grey tones.
The materials are also available pre-patinated, which bypasses the gradual weathering process, so that the cladding panels take on the beautiful earth tones from the day the façade is installed.
Proteus HR is also available in Steel, Aluminium, Zinc and other materials. For further information about copper rainscreen please visit our blog A guide to choosing copper alloy rainscreen cladding materials