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Copper & Brass
Friday | 20 February, 2009 | 8:51 am

Better than copper

By Modern Metals' staff

February 2009 - The outer appearance of the brand-new ParkView West condominiums in downtown Chicago is receiving much attention. ParkView West is the first high-rise complex to feature copper-colored, anodized metal wall panels. This sleek look, which is garnering interest among architects and the general public, was obtained using a recently released product from Linetec, Wausau, Wis.

Anodizing benefits
When architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Chicago, heard about Linetec's new copper anodized finish, it requested that the product be used on its ParkView West condominiums. The finish was chosen for the project because it mimics the metallic quality of copper while providing high-performance durability.

"The finish is an anodized material, meaning it's extremely hard, weather-resistant, and it won't fade," says Tammy Schroeder, marketing specialist for Linetec. "After it's anodized, it goes into an additional tank, where true copper is actually embedded into the aluminum. Then the aluminum is sealed off, so the copper is within the metal."

This process is what gives the finish the look of true copper but the benefits of being an anodized material. "The problem with real copper is you get a lot of salt stain runoff, which makes [the finish] look horrible," says Schroeder. "And copper will patina over time. This copper anodized finish won't get the salt stains because the copper is embedded in the aluminum, and it won't patina. It'll stay true, bright copper forever."

First of its kind
Linetec has worked with large buildings before, but the ParkView West buildings are the first structures to feature the company's copper anodized finish, which Linetec applied to aluminum wall panels supplied by Dri-Design, Holland, Mich.

The project originally called for actual copper to be applied, but there were concerns about galvanic corrosion and how that would affect the appearance of the buildings. Linetec's copper anodized finish alleviated those concerns by offering longevity and low-maintenance upkeep because of its durability and color consistency. It also lessened environmental concerns by having no volatile organic compounds, and it's tested to meet all AAMA 611 Class 1 specifications.

To give ParkView West more architectural depth and texture, Solomon Cordwell Buenz requested the copper anodize in a degree of color ranges. The finished panels were installed to appear random in their reflective characteristics. Devon Patterson, a principal with Solomon Cordwell Buenz, called the buildings "structural towers" and said their unique style is "artistic in expression."

Located in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood at 505 N. McClurg Court, ParkView West stands 47 stories tall and spans about 450,000 square feet. "There's an immense amount of interest in these condominiums," says Schroeder. "People like the metallic finish on the panels. It's unique, and the buildings definitely stand out among others in the area." MM

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