American Copper: On The Face Of It

Engineer Markus Wilmers of BuroHappold and architect Ayumi Sugiyama of SHoP Architects explain how the eye-catching exteriors of the American Copper Buildings took shape. Though their smooth, geometric design makes them appear fairly straightforward, their creation was a complex task that involved cantilevering, lots of 3D modeling, and ultraprecise construction. “We had to provide a movement joint around the bridge for waterproofing and air tightness,” says Wilmers, describing the installation of the elevated skybridge that Sugiyama characterizes as a “diamond” perched delicately between the two towers. The north and south facades are clad in copper, according to Sugiyama, while the east and west sides are glazed, giving the residents of the buildings’ luxury rentals expansive views of the waterfront and New York City skyline. The milled copper started out shiny, and it has already weathered a bit since it was installed. Eventually, it will turn green. Sugiyama estimates that there could be as much as 600,000 square feet of copper used in the buildings, including sections of the facade where the metal is folded. “A lot of pennies,” Wilmers agrees.