Red Metal in the Big Apple: Three Copper Buildings to Admire in NYC
19 Oct 2017
Copper is being used to clad, adorn and embellish architecture across North America, bringing bold features and bright color to numerous buildings. The red metal’s inherent properties also bring durability and protection to these projects. Copper can protect a building from the elements, is corrosion-resistant and can withstand extremely temperatures.
New York City residents are familiar with a multitude of historic copper buildings around the area, including the beautifully aged patina on the Plaza Hotel and the large bronze doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Both landmarks are listed on the national registry of historic places. In the last few years, however, copper has come to town in a new way with some stunning, modern designs. Check out the three buildings below, each of which was honored with a North American Copper in Architecture (NACIA) Award in 2017 by the Copper Development Association.
1) 31 East 74th Street
Recently, six historic NYC brownstones and two townhouses were purchased from the Whitney Museum and remade into a boutique mixed-use property. The brownstones were transformed into 10, three-to-five bedroom residences. Copper was used because it was the original material on the building. It was also chosen for the benefits of longevity, ease of fabrication and the fact that it ages beautifully as it turns patina green over time. The restoration was not without its complications; five of the six brownstones date from the 1890’s. Their redevelopment had to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Bringing this façade back to life pays homage to the original design and historical significance of the buildings.
2) 210 Pacific Street, Brooklyn
This stunning 120 feet tall apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, is clad with 15,000 individual gleaming, pressed brass tiles. The individual brass pieces in two different sizes cover the exterior of the complex. The pressed brass pieces were fastened to 8,000 feet of stainless steel vented track to support ventilation, and custom pieces were made to fit around corners.
3) Staten Island Court House
On a hilltop overlooking New York Harbor, the Staten Island Courthouse – which houses the New York State Supreme Civil and Criminal Courts, lower Criminal Court and related agencies – creates a distinctive expression of the judiciary for the 21st century. Four copper-clad “towers of justice” catch the morning light, providing a beacon for those arriving by ferry. The state-of-the-art facility in the civic center of St. George expresses the modern programmatic requirements of the Court while respecting the site’s historical significance. The new courthouse site is adjacent to the Staten Island Borough Hall and Public Library which were designed by Carrere and Hastings in the late 1800s, and which employ traditional copper standing seam roofing and detailing. The building owner requested that the towers be clad in a noble material, and copper quickly became the obvious choice.