Eight diverse projects from across Europe have been shortlisted for the 2017 European Copper in Architecture Awards. The following gives a preview of the shortlist and a glimpse inside the judging process.
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.
The Overall Winner, Commended projects and Public Choice Winner will be announced later this year.
Walmer Yard, London, UK
Peter Salter Associates
The copper work carried out by Roles Broderick at Walmer Yard follows the bespoke nature of the four houses, emphasising the haptic nature of materials and craftsmanship found throughout the project.
Six Houses in the Barn, Sesto san Giovanni, Italy
GINO GUARNIERI ARCHITECT - ROBERTO MASCAZZINI ARCHITECT
A collapsing barn has been replaced by a new building, placed on the same site, with the same size, shape and materials, as demanded by building code. Copper clad openings feature on each of the units.
Bosruck Tunnel, Bosruck, Austria
RIEPL RIEPL ARCHITEKTEN ZT GMBH
One of the most important connections to South East Europe, the 5.5km long Bosruck Tunnel passes through the Ennstal Alps, connecting Upper Austria with Styria. The original, two-way traffic tunnel has been renovated and a second, new tunnel built alongside. Now part of the A9 Pyhrn motorway, it is used by around 18,000 vehicles each day.
Communal Stage, Trondheim Town Square, Norway
HUS arkitekter AS
The stage on the town square of Trondheim (‘Torvet’) is the result of an invited architectural competition held in the autumn of 2012. The competition was part of a larger plan to renovate/upgrade the town square as a whole.
Lahti Travel Centre, Finland
The New Travel Centre is located at the heart of the city of Lahti next to the existing, historical railway station. It forms a transport hub connecting the rail network to the long-distance and local bus lines.
HYDROPOLIS, Education Centre, Wrocław
Pracownia Projektowa ART FM
Hydropolis is a state-of-the-art exhibition and museum which presents views and aspects of ‘water’. It provides education in a modern exhibition space.
Maersk Building, Copenhagen, Denmark
In January 2017, an iconic new tower—the Mærsk Building—was inaugurated In the presence of HM Queen Margrethe, adding a major landmark to Copenhagen’s skyline. Architects C.F. Møller explain their design, characterised by continuous curvilinear bands of vertical copper brise-soleils.
Suvela Chapel, Suvela, Espoo, Finland
OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture
The Suvela chapel was commissioned by the Espoo Parish Union and it is used jointly by the Espoo Parish Union, the Swedish Parish of Espoo and the City of Espoo to serve the entire community of Suvela. It is a multifunctional building that offers a space for the people of the community to use together for their many different needs regardless of their religious affiliation.