Copper architectural elements are staging a comeback, as new construction and restoration work utilizing the shiny material pop up across the country.

This year, the Copper Development Association (CDA) awarded North American Copper in Architecture (NACIA) awards to 10 high-profile construction projects.

This includes Ford’s repurposing of the Michigan Central Station’s railway station in Detroit for offices, with 97 startups in operation already on the campus. The structure, which stood dilapidated just a few years ago, had its grand opening in June. 

On the contract for the lobby roof, the batten-seam, double-lock copper roof panels match-up to what contractors originally installed in the 1920s.

“It’s a must to stay true to the historical system; it’s similar to what you’d find in the SMACNA manual,” said Glenn Parvin, president of Cass Sheet Metal, referring to the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association.

Now in its 17th edition, the NACIA awards showcase outstanding work in design, fabrication, and craftsmanship using architectural copper. 

“Copper’s resilience, adaptability, and aesthetic qualities make it a fantastic choice for roofs, façades, and other building elements,” said Larry Peters, project manager at CDA. “We applaud the expertise of this year’s winning teams.”

NACIA judges consider integration of copper into the building, design quality, and craftsmanship of installation, among other factors. The panel selected outstanding examples in new construction and historic restoration categories. 

The judges selected five new construction projects: 

  • Madrone Ridge, a sophisticated residence in Sonoma County, Calif., designed by Field Architecture, featuring three copper-clad pavilions that “exemplify system design through their functional and aesthetic choices.”
  • Designed by Bates Smart and KCCT with fabrication by Pohl and Enclos, the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., whose copper façade panels create a “visually stunning” interplay of light and shadow.
  • The Ledger, in Bentonville, Ark., a mixed-use building designed by architects Michel Rojkind and Marlon Blackwell. Judges noted the innovative ramps that connect the building to the street, featuring copper panels fabricated and installed by Dissimilar Metal Design and Harness Roofing.
  • CopperDrifts, a striking beach house near Provincetown, Mass., designed by Charles Rose Architects with copper flat-lock and standing-seam exterior panels by Airtech Copper that enhance its form and visually integrate with the landscape. 
  • The Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Campus of Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike, Ohio, near Cleveland. Judges cited the project’s “impressive” design detail and copper fabrication, led by Centerbrook Architects and fabricator MetalTech Global. 

CDA also recognized five winners in the restoration category: 

  • The courtyard of the New York State Capitol in Albany, N.Y., by Bell & Spina Architects-Planners PC and sheet-metal installer Greenwood Industries. The project’s copper architectural details “showcase expert craftsmanship while adhering to historical accuracy and preservation standards.”
  • The transformation of Michigan Central Station in Detroit, Mich., led by Quinn Evans. The station’s copper roof, rebuilt by CASS Sheet Metal, “demonstrates a comprehensive approach to architectural restoration.”
  • A technically difficult rework of the dome of the Logan County Courthouse in Lincoln, Ill. Durable Restoration used complex double-lock folded copper panels to restore the dome’s original appearance and ensure water-tight performance. Heather & Little and Chicago Metal Supply fabricated many of the copper architectural elements. 
  • Restoration of the Green County Courthouse in Monroe, Wisc., by Renaissance Roofing. Their rebuild of the clock tower included challenging copper flashing that artistically integrates with adjacent slate roofing. 
  • Phase one of the East Block of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Ont., jointly led by Architecture 49 and DFS Architects with contractor Heather & Little, a project that extends the legacy of outstanding architectural copper use across Canada. 

The NACIA awards, launched in 2008, celebrate design excellence, recognize quality craftsmanship, and highlight diverse uses of copper in architectural applications. Over the years, winning projects have illustrated the wide appeal of copper and showcased extraordinary craftsmanship from contractors and installers across the U.S. and Canada.

Full details and photos of the 2024 winners appear in CDA’s portfolio of architectural projects at