The Copper Architecture Forum highlights some of the best contemporary architecture from around Europe. It also connect projects that share similar contexts, typologies, scales or programs to explore how different architects use copper to respond to common issues.

In this issue, our first two projects address the challenges of successfully integrating modern interventions within historic town centre settings. The Moon in Mechelen, Belgium takes its theme from the neighbouring decorated historic stone tower, reinvented as delicately folded, golden copper alloy surfaces.  Equally contemporary are brass-clad additions to the restored classical palace in Kortrijk, also in Belgium.

Another intervention to a historic building, in Areosa, Portugal, uses a copper cloak to transform a stone ruin into a thoroughly modern villa. Its architectural expression of the typology makes an interesting comparison with a similar scale villa built on a rock outcrop overlooking the estuary near Turku, Finland.

Next, we review two school buildings, both responding vigorously to their urban contexts. A brass-clad children’s nursery in Paris stands its ground against the bland multi-storey housing that surrounds it and provides a new focus for local residents. Similarly, a dramatic golden copper alloy high-street frontage unites several disparate buildings that constitute a south London school.

Moving to university buildings, a student accommodation tower in Lund, Sweden  makes the most of its parkland setting, highlighting its verticality with differing shades of pre-oxidised copper. A very different approach is taken to a new school of art with housing, right at the heart of Calais, France, characterised by its trio of copper alloy mesh screens dominating the street frontage.

Copper plays a leading role in the street-scene at the heart of Lahti, Finland too. A new transport interchange outside the main railway station makes a dramatic statement with its use of copper that reaches out to the local area on bus stops, stair enclosures and other neighbouring elements, uniting and lifting the quality of the cityscape. Completing our journey is a straightforward, modern building in a historic area of Hamburg, defined by its smooth corners, elegantly executed in copper alloy shingles.

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