Copper has a long and illustrious history in architecture

Copper architecture provides a beautiful, practical and sustainable contribution to the modern building construction market.

Buildings covered with copper can be admired for centuries. There are many examples of both historical and contemporary buildings across Europe with striking green copper cladding, gutters and roofs, showing copper to be both beautiful and durable.

Modern architecture benefits from copper because it complements commonly-used materials such as brick, wood, stone and glass, and can be used for buildings with modern or traditional styles. In addition, copper architecture meets the important requirements of state-of-the-art building design, which demands recyclable and sustainable materials. In existing legislative framework, the production and use of copper products safeguards the environment and citizens of Europe.

Copper is a beautiful material. No other metal, except gold, has a colour. When exposed to the environment, copper’s shiny red becomes brown and then progresses to its distinctive green patina. Industry is now able to provide pre-oxidised and pre-patinated sheets to architects, meaning a particular colour can be achieved either immediately, or naturally over time. Copper products are also available in a wide range of forms (solid sheet and strip, punched, meshed and more) that are easy to work with and shape.

Copper alloying adds to the palette of colours. Golden-brown bronze , red-yellow brass and gold-coloured copper are increasingly used by the architects for building elements—especially for roof and facades—thanks to their appealing look and long life.

Copper, and copper alloys provide performance, durability (100+ years), a range of colours, forms and textures, all in a natural, 100% recyclable material.

Can copper alloys be used for architecture?

Yes, brass and bronze alloys are available.

Can patination of the copper be prevented?

Applying a lacquer is not recommended, particularly when large areas are considered. Lacquers will require regular maintenance over the life of the roof.

What finishes are available for copper?

Bright copper, pre-oxidised copper, pre-patinated copper or post-patinated copper. Copper surfaces can also be supplied embossed, hammered or perforated to offer a textured, or light-changing finish.

What is the minimum pitch for long strip copper roofing?

3 degrees.

What is the minimum pitch for traditional copper roofing?

1 degree, using batten rolls.

Watch a video unveiling the winner of the 2017 European Copper in Architecture Awards: Maersk Tower in Copenhagan, Denmark.



Seek inspiration and information from the Copper in Architecture library for designers and architects: characteristics of copper and copper alloys, architectural applications, entries from past Copper in Architecture awards and issues of Copper Architecture Forum magazine.