Famous Copper Domes Around the World

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Historic Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with copper domes copper roof and copper statues

Historic Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

Copper has been prized as a roofing material by architects for hundreds of years. Once copper changes color from brass to its prestigious green patina — think of the Statue of Liberty — it actually becomes more durable. The oxide-sulfate coating on the outer surface of copper makes it especially resistant to corrosion in most environments. Tests were conducted on 18th century copper roofs in Europe and the tests found that copper roofing can last approximately 1,000 years (at least in theory).

A dome-shaped roof is an architectural style that has been around for thousands of years. One of the most important Buddhist sites in India, the Great Stupa at Sanchi, was built in the 3rd century B.C.E. The dome structure is incredibly durable as well, as its shape lends itself to wind resistance. Dome homes are popping up along the Gulf and East coast in hurricane zones as a defense against the damage those storms can deliver.

In other words, dome-shaped roofs and copper domes are an enduring form of architecture sure to be around for a long time.  Here is a closer look at some old and new copper domes and roofs around the world.

Berlin Cathedral Church (Berliner Dom)

Berliner Dom showing bright patina copper domes and Fernsehturm in front of blue sky

While it is not a cathedral in the technical sense (a bishop has never been seated there), the Berlin Cathedral Church, or Berliner Dom, is one of the most majestic buildings in Germany. On a site continually occupied by a church since 1465, the current building was completed in 1905. Built in an ornate Renaissance style after St. Peter’s in Rome, it has five copper domes and several copper statues, all of which are a beautiful patina green. The Berlin Cathedral underwent extensive restoration after World War II. It can be visited on Museum Island in the Mitte borough.

Macon City Auditorium

The Macon City Auditorium in Macon, Georgia is actually the largest copper-domed roof in the world. It was completed in 1925 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The circular assembly hall is approximately the same size as the Pantheon in Rome, making it a truly incredible structure. A beautiful mural inside the auditorium captures four centuries of history of the Macon area. Today, it’s a busy cultural center, hosting music, theater and other events for local residents and tourists.

Wales Millenium Centre

The Millenium Centre Cardiff Bay in sun with copper roof reflecting light

The dome on the Wales Millenium Centre is actually constructed from steel. The architect wanted the dome to maintain its bronze color throughout its lifespan, so he went with steel that had been treated with copper oxide. The Millenium Centre is an arts center with a main concert hall and two smaller halls which house restaurants and shops. The entire Centre covers 4.7 acres in Cardiff, Wales.

The Rotunda at UVA

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson. It has a 77-foot domed copper roof and Jefferson designed it to represent “the authority of nature and the power of reason.” The Rotunda’s construction began in 1822 but was not completed until shortly after Jefferson’s death in 1826. Jefferson toyed with the idea of designing the interior of the Rotunda dome as the first planetarium in the United States, but that idea was abandoned.

Temppeliaukio Kirkko, The Helsinki Rock Church

Temppeliaukio rock church famous modern architecture landmark interior in helsinki finland

It is difficult to even find words to describe the Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Church of the Rock, located in Helsinki, Finland. The church was literally carved out of solid rock. A skylight framework holds up the massive copper dome roof. Due to the rock walls and the copper dome, the acoustics provided are incredible and the church is often used for musical performances. The Temppeliaukio Church is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Finland. Its construction had to be completed in stages over several decades due to the interruption of World War II. When you consider this unique building and its dome, think about this:  The design was actually scaled back to one-fourth of its original planned size!

Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Upper Belvedere Palace beautiful baroque palace with copper roofing Vienna Austria

The copper roof of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna has been in place for some 300 years now, which once again speaks to the durability of copper as a roofing material. It was built in the early 1700s as the palace for the ruling Habsburg Dynasty. The Belvedere Palace has a copper roof that includes four copper domes at each of the roof’s corners.

The Academic Building – Texas A&M University

The Main Building at Texas A&M, known as “Old Main,” burned down in 1912 and was replaced with the Academic Building which still stands today. Inside the building you’ll find a replica of the Liberty Bell. On the outside, the most noticeable feature is, of course, the patina-green dome. The dome of the Academic Building actually features in one of the most time-honored traditions at Texas A&M. A ceremony is held to pay tribute to a passing current student in which a variation of Taps, called Silver Taps, is played from the dome.

Nevada Supreme Court Building Copper Dome, Las Vegas

View from below copper cupola spire and lady justice statue Nevada Supreme Court in Las Vegas

Prestige Roofing is proud to have built the new copper dome for the Nevada Supreme Court Building in 2016. To add dignity and grandeur to the copper dome atop this important seat of justice for Nevada, the shiny new dome was finished to a protective green patina with a treatment that accelerates the oxidation process that otherwise occurs naturally over time. Prestige is proud to think that Nevadans will be able to enjoy the classic beauty of this dome for many years to come.

Prestige Roofing specializes in quality copper roofing, as well as a range of quality new roof and roof restoration services. Contact us for help with your roofing needs.


Henderson homeowners consider luxury metal roofing


Desert Homes Glow with the Beauty of Metal Roofing

Front view homes in McDonald Highland Henderson with new copper roofing

McDonald Highland homes in Henderson with elegant metal roofing

With a leisure lifestyle and the natural beauty of the surrounding desert, many Henderson homeowners look to enhance the style and comfort of their home with special features that complement the environment around them. One element that has a big impact on the look of a home is its roof. If you’re planning a custom new or remodeled home, have you considered metal roofing? From classic copper or zinc to elegant modern pre-finished galvanized steel panels, metal roofs are growing in popularity and are well-suited for Southern Nevada homes.

Consider some of the advantages of copper and metal roofing:

Style and Curb Appeal of Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are increasing in appeal and popularity as more people discover the advantages of metal roofing. Some people aren’t sure about metal rooftops because they have an old view of metal roofing, like sheet metal just hammered in place. But metal roofing has come a long way. One of the advantages of metal roofing materials like copper, zinc, steel and aluminum, is that they come in many different varieties and can be molded into beautiful forms and designs. Homeowners can choose among panels, strips, shingles, and other styles. Thanks to a variety of coatings, metal rooftops can be built in a wide variety of colors and can even mimic other types of roofing.

Metal Roofs are Energy Efficient

Metal adds to the energy efficiency of a house, especially in warmer climates like Henderson’s. This is because of the naturally reflective properties of metal: instead of absorbing sunlight as heat, it reflects that sunlight back into the air.  Some installations provide ventilation between the roof panels and the substrate. The result? Your house stays cooler, and you save money on energy bills during the hottest months.  And most metal roofing is recyclable so there’s less that ends up in landfills.

Metal Roofing is Durable and Weather Resistant

Metal rooftops are some of the most durable around. Unlike materials like asphalt, metal handles time and the elements in an elegant manner. Metal rooftops typically last between 40 and 70 years or more, depending on the metal and the style. That’s one of the longest roofing lifespans around, which means less money spent on replacements and repairs. Metal is also one of the most fire resistant roofing materials, making it easy to meet building code requirements and protect your roof from fire. Metal roofing is lightweight which is easy on the house’s frame.  And, because of it’s durability, longevity and beauty, a metal roof adds to the resale value of your home.

Customization and Classic Features

Metal is a great choice for restoring old houses or giving a new rooftop a classic or historic appearance. This is particularly true of copper rooftops: Copper’s famous patina contributes a classic feel. Metal rooftops can be enhanced with beautiful decorative or functional features such as vents, chimney caps, gutters, cupolas, and panels, which add to the unique, custom look of your metal roof.

Some considerations to be aware of if you are considering adding a metal roof to your home:

Cost of Copper Roofing and other Metal Roofs

While copper roofing’s style and durability are of the highest quality, metal roofing is more costly than most other roofing materials. Add in customized design and fixtures, and it’s clear that metal roofing is a true luxury product. But don’t forget, metal roofing is an investment, and the  cost is partially offset over time since metal roofs need little maintenance, last longer than most other roofs, save energy and can add significantly to the value of the home.

Metal Roofs and Weathering

While metal is very resistant to weather conditions as a whole, metal materials are susceptible to oxidation. When it comes to natural materials like aluminum, zinc and copper this actually adds to the beauty of the roof, but steel can rust and degrade. Coatings prevent this from happening by sealing off the metal, but coatings can fade over time and rust problems can sneak in, especially in wetter climates.

In climates with a lot of disparity between temperatures – hot summers and cold winters – metal rooftops will expand and contract through the year, which may cause panels with fixed fasteners to loosen. Quality panels are installed with concealed clips which allow for this expansion and contraction. Simple maintenance is advised to check and tighten up fasteners loosened when metal expands and contracts during extreme temperature changes.

Rainy Days

Heavy rainstorms may be noisy under a metal roof. Some metal roofs tend to magnify the sound of rain since the metal is unable to buffer the impact of raindrops like wood, asphalt and tile do.  Ask your builder about ways to eliminate or reduce rain noise in your metal roof design.

Consider Metal Roofing for your home

Overall, copper and metal roofs are a joy to the homeowners who choose them. Metal roofs are an opportunity to make the home special, to add to the visual impact of the home and its surroundings. If you would like to see more examples of our work with metal roofs in Henderson and Southern Nevada, visit our photo gallery on our website.  If you have any questions on copper and metal roofing, we’d be happy to answer them and help you decide if metal roofing is right for you home.