Breaking Away From Tradition

A few weeks ago we were given an assignment to research different materials and determine which one we would use for the new University of Minnesota Experimental Physics and Nanotechnology building.  As a group we decided to go with copper as the material that we would use for the façade.  Our professor and teaching assistant pointed out some good deficits of our material choice such as the amount of energy that it takes to mine the material, the negative effects on the environment and that it will change from the intended red color to green after several years.  So I went home and I let everything that they had to say marinate for a little bit and I decided to do the process one more time.  What I found out is that I would stick by my decision to use copper and this is why.

In class we mentioned some of the positive qualities of copper such as, it is recyclable, corrosion resistant and you can get it in various colors. The fact that there was not more essence to why we wanted copper than this made me look at it on a larger scale. Brick is a material that is largely used on campus and I feel that copper would be a way to introduce new materials to the university allowing them to explore options away from the rubric that has already been set. Ralph Rapson took a step in this direction with the new edition of Rapson Hall and I think that if others were willing to give it a chance it would create a possibility for others to exhibit new ideas. I knew that since copper was corrosion resistant, that it would minimize the cost of maintenance but, I was unaware that it would change its color appearance until it was mentioned as a deficit in class. I began to think that maybe that is not a deficit because; it along with Rapson Hall would bring a new color to the University of Minnesota campus which hopefully would inspire others to push other materials in the buildings created on campus.



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