Building & Architecture News

January 2008

Copper's Design Potential Highlights Architectural Seminars

Long lifespan, structural integrity and superior recyclability are all attributes that make copper products so useful in the architecture and construction arenas. Add inherent natural beauty to the list and it’s easy to see why copper is so highly regarded in interior design, as well.

Once used primarily as a weather barrier on building projects, copper evolved into an exterior design element and eventually moved indoors to change the way commercial and residential interiors are outfitted and decorated.

“Originally, architects were specifying copper applications on roofing and for exterior wall cladding,” says Craig Thompson, Midwest regional manager for the Copper Development Association (CDA). “Then they realized it could be both useful and decorative for interior applications in any room.”

To promote the idea that copper building materials are virtually unlimited in their design potential, and at the same time show the practical side of this metal as an architectural element, CDA offers architects and interior designers educational seminars. The program is designed to introduce practitioners to the many uses and applications of copper products.

As licensed professionals, architects and interior designers are required to complete a number of accreditation units annually. Seminar attendees earn continuing education credits, which also enables them to maintain membership in organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

“At our seminars, we show how copper products are produced, and we explain the different copper alloys and finishes in which they are available,” Thompson says. “We also want to educate building and design professionals about the proper use of copper in construction and make them aware of the many applications that can influence their own use of the material.”

The seminars—referred to as “lunch and learn” sessions because CDA provides box lunches for all attendees—are presented throughout the USA by four regional managers. On average, each manager hosts seven, one-hour seminars per month. Each session is designed to fit into a typical lunch hour so it doesn’t disrupt the architect’s work.

“The number of attendees varies depending on the size of the firm,” Thompson says. “We go to the office so attendees don’t have to use any travel time, and we do it at no cost to the company or to the attendees.”

CDA began offering seminars in 1993. Since then, the use of copper in architecture has grown tremendously. From 1990 to 2000, the amount of copper sold for architectural applications doubled— a goal CDA had set for itself to gauge the effectiveness of the seminar series—and its use continues to grow.

Thompson and the other regional managers say they enjoy the interaction with architects at the seminars because it keeps them up-to-date on what is going on in the building and construction industry.

“We get to learn about the different architectural firms and the types of projects they work on,” he adds. “It’s an education for us as well.”

For information about these and other educational seminars offered by CDA, visit our Architecture section, or call 212-251-7200.

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