Most of the time, architects strive for their projects to age with grace. In terms of building buildings to last, longevity concerns aesthetic quality, a punctiliously thought-out design scheme, and — perhaps most importantly — a carefully balanced material composition that will adapt to a specific geographic region. That said, many vernacular vocabularies around the world embrace and even celebrate aging and the signs that come along with it.
In fact, many climates welcome patina as a natural consequence of metal and wood surfaces, a byproduct of age and exposure to the elements. Patinas can provide a protective layer that preserves materials that would otherwise be damaged by corrosion or weathering, but also add an aesthetically appealing quality to any presumed architectural conceit.
While architectural timelessness is subject to many contributing factors, construction materials and local climate are the two largest factors when considering how long a structure can withstand the inescapable factor of time. This set of patina’d projects demonstrates how beauty sometimes comes with a little wear and tear:
For both functional and aesthetic purposes, this college was constructed out of glass, aluminum and copper, forming a sustainable and open environment for learning. In time, the copper skin will develop layers of patina, which will smooth with age and reinforce the value of sustainability in the project’s design.
Made of weatherproof steel, this observation tower is made of weatherproof steel (Corten steel) that has received an expressive brown patina as the structure ages in the region’s maritime influenced climate. Two closed faces of the structure consist of hollow walls with cross-bracing, while the open third side reveals a staircase sculpture leading up to a viewing platform at the top.
Via a series of exterior screens, this small studio for drawing, painting and sculpture acts as a visual device with a system of infrastructure that bi-directionally frames the surroundings. As well as the weathering steel façade panels, the bronze sculptures receive a natural patina, contributing to the character of the entire scheme.
The space of the design of this hospital was inspired by the natural surroundings — growing straight up out of the terrain like a block of ice. With both the façades and the roof clad in copper, the building also emanates a sense of wholeness. The particular texture of the copper as well as its beautiful patina contribute to the building’s striking sculptural form.
Due to the region’s severe winter weather, this project was designed as a “thin thread” that guides visitors from one stunning overlook to another. Conceived to withstand extreme stress without compromising the slender aesthetic composition, cast-in-place concrete and Corten steel were used as burly supports that will oxidize and gain a patina over time.
This manufacturing facility is predominantly constructed from wood in variable sections, where red cedar brackets rhythmically repeat across the lateral façades. Broadly opening up the workshop to the landscape of the plain, the interlocking beams will gradually turn a silvery gray.
Six new buildings were arranged, very modestly, in the existing topography of the so-called “hofgut hafnerleiten.” Their form was derived from the image of small wooden hay barns made with a vernacular vertical larch lathing that will gray with patina.
Situated in an elevated location in the center of the village, this school’s extension was designed in response to a shortage of space, new forms of education and an increased student enrollment. Constructed of natural, robust materials that already have a lovely patina, the building is able to withstand a high degree of wear and tear.