Copper celebrates the Bronze Age

Set in the deserts of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, a new multi-award winning visitor centre features Nordic Standard copper from Aurubis as part of a restrained palette of enduring materials.

The Mleiha Archaeological Centre is at the heart of an eco-tourism project to protect the rich archaeology, environment and wildlife in the region, creating a coherent setting suitable for potential World Heritage Site status. Focused on and wrapping around the circular Bronze Age Umm an-Nar tomb – considered the most impressive grave building of the many ancient funeral sites in the area – the new building was designed by Dabbagh Architects and conceived as a double curve mirroring the spectacular Fossil Rock mountains nearby.

The sinuous plan form terminates in a copper-roofed reception and exhibition area, fragmenting into copper-clad folded elements spanning the café, with glazing opening out to the landscape. Copper proved to be the ideal material for the complex geometry, with careful detailing and fabrication by cladding specialists Arabian Profile, working closely with the architects.

Given the historic importance and eco aspirations of the project, durability and sustainability were paramount in material selection. Principal architect Sumaya Dabbagh explained:

Alongside the regionally-sourced sandstone, we chose contrasting Nordic Standard copper which is recyclable and will weather organically over time, thus enhancing its natural beauty. Apart from its obvious contextual relevance to the Bronze Age site, copper is exceptionally durable with low maintenance – essential in this harsh desert environment”.

Nordic Standard is produced by Aurubis, part of the world’s leading integrated copper group and largest copper recycler. In addition to Nordic Standard, other Aurubis architectural surfaces include Nordic Brown pre-oxidised copper with either light or dark brown oxidisation that otherwise takes time to develop in the environment.

Various Nordic Green and Nordic Blue factory-applied patinas have also been developed with properties and colours based on the same brochantite mineralogy found in natural patinas all over the world. Aurubis copper alloys include Nordic Brass – now also available pre-weathered – Nordic Bronze and the innovative Nordic Royal with a long-lasting golden colour.

Aurubis is part of the world’s leading integrated copper group and largest copper recycler. For more information email: g.bell(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) or visit: