Copper memories

Corrugated Nordic Brown copper, from Aurubis Architectural, defines the character of a new secondary school in Strømmen, Norway, and is reminiscent of the town’s industrial heritage.

White Arkitekter’s competition-winning design is a rigorous interpretation of its programme. Conceived as a hilltop plateau, the entrance level is open in character with extensive full-height glazing, accommodating specialist areas including a library, workshops and studios. Floating above is the more introverted copper box, housing all the classrooms and related spaces, organised into three different grades.

Copper satisfies the client’s requirement for a 100-year lifespan school and its sustainability credentials are important in this low-energy building. But the unique visual characteristics of the corrugated Nordic Brown copper proved central to the design, both as a thoroughly contemporary material changing over time and as a memory of the riverside sawmills and later heavy industries in the town.

Nordic Brown products are pre-oxidised at Aurubis’ factory to give straightaway the same oxidised brown surface that otherwise develops over time in the environment.

The thickness of the oxide layer determines the colour – either Nordic Brown Light or the darker Nordic Brown – and the darkening oxidisation process continues in the natural environment. Other Aurubis Architectural surfaces include Nordic Standard ‘mill finish’, as well as Nordic Green and Nordic Blue factory-applied patinas – developed with properties and colours based on the same brochantite mineralogy found in natural patinas all over the world. Copper alloys include the new Nordic Bronze, Nordic Brass, which is now also available pre-weathered, and the innovative Nordic Royal – an alloy with a long-lasting golden colour.

Aurubis Architectural is part of the world’s leading integrated copper group and largest copper recycler.

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