Copper: Architecture Challenges

There are many architectural "challenges": odd angles, unusual views, narrow catwalks, very high open stairs, elevators opening to dramatic views, etc. In one elevator car, the lights dim dramatically when the car begins to move and brighten again before the doors open. The same car has windows in both the floor and ceiling. The intention of these design moves is to create spaces that demand the attention of users, creating opportunities for social interaction between tenants, and we have found this strategy to be highly successful.

The building rises in two separate structures which enclose an open atrium at the ground level, and then divide again into four turrets at the fourth floor, again with two largeĀ public open areas between them. The main towers are connected by two open bridges, and all circulation is by open cantilevered walkways. The studios have very large windows overlooking the walkways and the atrium, which are railed with glass in galvanized steel "I beam" posts. The public space on the fourth floor adjoins the walkways and is accessible for public events.

Coloured concrete, copper, aluminum and galvanized steel and glass are the only exposed materials. All exposed metal siding is custom fabricated 20 ounce copper, in a unique rain screen system that I designed. So far as I know, this is the only building in the world clad in copper. The image on the right shows the sun reflecting on the copper siding on one of the fourth floor public areas. The caged ladders lead to the roof.

Vertical circulation is by two high speed traction elevators that run in a common concrete shaft. Each car is glazed to allow users to view the interior of the other car as well as the elevator works, including the hoist-room. One car isĀ glazed on both the floor and ceiling. The elevators are intended to prod building users into an open frame of mind, as are the exposed steel stairways, one of which rises free from the atrium, and is a challenge for some to use. The view from an upper landing of this stair is shown in the image on the left. The reflections on the coloured concrete wall are from the aluminum columns supporting the open stair and aluminum planter boxes mounted on the outside of each landing. The boxes are planted with clinging ivy, which I hope will soon overgrow the stairway structure, providing a green stair column.