Renderings of the new hospital show a distinguishing, architectural feature of a curved copper-colored exterior wall above the main entrance, bearing the words West Park Healthcare Centre. Since its reveal years ago, it has begged the question from worried patrons whether the exterior panels will eventually turn green like the signature rooftops of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
The short answer is no. The long answer is it will instead be a golden colour when it gets installed and gradually turn dark bronze when fully weathered.
That is because the exterior panels will be made of Muntz metal, a metallic alloy consisting of a 60 and 40 per cent ratio of copper and zinc respectively with a trace of iron. In comparison, the rooftops of the Parliament Buildings are made entirely of copper, which turned brown within a couple of months and eventually green about 30 years later.
While somewhat variable in nature, the Muntz metal is expected to turn a rich, dark bronze colour in three to five years.
“We were drawn to the choice of Muntz metal above the entry, which wraps around the auditorium on the second level, because we wanted a material that was particularly warm and inviting,” said Ed Applebaum, director and principal at Montgomery Sisam Architects, the firm that worked in conjunction with Cannon Design to design the new building. “As well, we were intrigued by the notion of how the material naturally changes over time in that it was quite symbolic of the journey patients take when coming to West Park.”
The award-winning architectural firm has successfully used Muntz metal on several other major projects including the Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments (ARISE) building at Carleton University, the Durham College Center for Collaborative Education, and the student centre at Seneca College’s King City campus.
According to Wikipedia, the metal is named after George Fredrick Muntz, a metal-roller of Birmingham, England, who commercialized the alloy following his patent in 1832.
Workers have just begun installing the Muntz metal paneling. Significant care will be taken by gloved installers to ensure the surface is not marred by fingerprints.
When the panels look brassy and golden, instead of being alarmed, staff and patients and visitors can look forward to it changing colour over time.
Watch the installation
To get a view of the Muntz paneling, the main entrance of the new hospital is located across from the Long-Term Care Centre or check out our live feed camera at wpconstructioncam.org.