Breaking the circle

Sian
Tuesday 03 May 2011

Expressive copper facade highlights the numerous uses of the metallic material


The recently completed Helsinki Music Centre, located in a pivotal city location facing the Parliament House, exemplifies a considered approach to combining copper surfaces, forms and systems.

LPR Architects’ competition-winning design included a solid green mass, reflecting and terminating the nearby public park, always envisaged in pre-patinated copper cladding. During the detailed design phase the architects worked closely with Luvata in developing softer façade treatments, reflecting the project’s ‘Mezzo Voce’ (silent voice) theme and contextual approach.

Copper forms experimented with included a pierced leaf motif, then more abstract patterns of rectangles cut-out from the copper. Finally, vertical patterns defined by press-moulded circular dimples and pierced circles were selected, giving a less aggressive texture but still adding life to the surfaces when seen from different viewpoints.

Alternative patination levels were also trialled and a ‘living’ surface of green flecks on the dark oxidised background chosen, although solid green was used for perforated panels over ventilation plant to mitigate the darkness of the holes. Architect Marko Kivisto has also worked with Luvata on silk-screen printing techniques of patination onto copper.

Chris Hodson

Key Facts:

Architecture
Finland
Commercial Offices Civic Buildings

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