Cambridge Blue

Richard Murphy Architects have created a new campus for Anglia Ruskin University, announced by a dramatic curved facade clad in tiered layers of Nordic Blue Living 3 pre-patinated copper from Aurubis.

The phased development on the edge of a Cambridge conservation area sought not only to create additional education floor space but also to repair and reinstate a small piece of Cambridge’s historic urban fabric. The 2nd phase building has been given a unique facade of copper cladding and a dramatic stepped roof profile, both to identify the lecture theatre volume within but also to signify the campus entrance at one end, whilst stepping down to the scale of neighbouring, Victorian terraced housing at the other.

The three buildings comprising the new campus (built by principal Design and Build contractors R G Carter Cambridge Ltd.) share the same external facing brickwork, structured by dark metal detailing. In contrast, vertical standing-seam cladding in pre-patinated copper from Aurubis accentuates the curved facades of the lecture theatre. Richard Murphy Architects’ Director James Mason commented:

“Copper cladding is an extremely durable material that supports the longevity inherent in the brickwork facades. It also brings a sense of dignity which the University wish to engender in their buildings to reflect their own values as a high quality Higher Education establishment.

“The Nordic Blue Living 3 variant effectively gave the closest visual match to a natural patinated copper in our opinion – without the 25-year wait for the weather to do the job for us.”

Nordic Blue is a factory-applied patina developed with properties and colours based on the same brochantite mineralogy found in natural patinas all over the world. In marine climates, the natural copper patina contains some copper chloride giving it a blue-green colour and this is emulated with Nordic Blue using 100 per cent brochantite.  Another range, Nordic Green, is produced with a hint of iron sulphate yellow, replicating greener natural patinas.

With both ranges, the process can be accurately controlled so that, as well as the solid patina colours, other intensities of patina flecks can be created revealing some of the dark oxidised background material. These products are easily bent and formed, and there are no limitations on the length of copper sheet or strip because whole coils are treated on the production line, not just limited size panels.

Other Aurubis Architectural copper surfaces include Nordic Standard ‘mill finish’, as well as Nordic Brown pre-oxidised copper giving either light or dark brown oxidisation that otherwise takes time to develop in the environment. Copper alloys are also available for architectural applications, such as 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. For more information, visit: or email: g.bell(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) Aurubis will also be showcasing its Nordic Products ranges at both the ARCHITECT@WORK London and BAU Munich shows in January 2017.