Architectural Elements. Copper, Titanium, Zinc, Aluminum.

Copper Arches

 

Piazza  of  the  The  Government  Center.  Haifa.

 

My project there consisted of two kinds of copper elements:

One was several copper roofs over small structures scattered around

the central court of the complex;
The second, an array of 12 copper arches erected over the central walk-way.
While the roofs were  conventional,  double standing seam work,

the arches (thin copper skin applied over tubular space frame) were more of a challenge.

 

The site, located next to the port and to the the sea beyond it, with several tall buildings in vicinity, held promise of very windy conditions, threatening to pry the copper free of the frames.

 

The design of the stainless frame, as supplied by the architect, had to be modified to provide adequate rigidity. The girders layout was rearranged and when the first skeleton arrived from the welder’s workshop, it behaved perfectly. It had just enough flexibility for twisting motion along its length. This was necessary for allowing pairing of the arches with the fixing bolts sticking out of the top of the concrete columns. After tightening the bolts, this flexibility disappeared too.

 

Fastening of the copper to the structure with screws, rivets and glues didn’t seem to work right. So the copper segment’s ends were fixed to the structure by just bending them over flat edges that were welded to the underside of the frames for this purpose.

 

On a visit six years later I found that the arches aged gracefully.

No loose pieces, no cracks, no sign of wear.  Just evenly oxidized copper and green streaks where runoff rainwater trickles over the lime stone.