Kansas City Star Production Facility
In the mid-2000's, The Kansas City Star set about designing a building which would allow the public to view the inner workings of producing the morning news paper. The new production facility for the Kansas City Star hired The Austin Company, an engineering design firm specializing in large-scale industrial facilities, including industrial printing presses.
The result is a massive production building, where delivery trucks literally drive through the building at it's 16th street garage. The building is a state-of-the-art $199 million printing and distribution plant northeast of its main building at 1729 Grand Blvd. The windows span 3 stories, providing a well lit view at night of the paper being produced.
Copper alloys, whether they are prepatinated or not, will continue to transform as the surfaces age. This happens more rapidly when exposed to moisture, sun, and pollutants. Over time, this transformation will occur at a progressively slower rate as the copper surface reaches a chemical equilibrium. For example, bronze statues, exposed to the weather for centuries, often develop a darkish "bloom" in the form of a spot or streak. These localized changes are the product of natural pollutants and the further aging of the surface.The predominant oxide to develop on the surface of copper alloys exposed to the atmosphere is cuprous oxide, Cu2O. This oxide is essentially the mineral cuprite. The color is reddish brown, but often exhibits a range of color from orange to yellow, even purples, as can be seen in the Dirty Penny copper material developed by Zahner. The minerals of copper undergo a very slow aging process, though the process is somewhat faster when near the sea. Another somewhat common mineral formation on copper alloys combines carbon dioxide and forms carbonates over the initial cuprous oxide layer. The carbonate mineral forms are malachite and azurite. These relatively uniform corrosion products are difficult to artificially create.All copper and copper alloy surfaces exposed to the atmosphere undergo changes. On a molecular level they seek various compounds from the atmosphere and readily combine with them. They actually remove pollutants from the air, albeit very slowly, by combining with sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide to form mineral compounds that effectively trap the pollutants.
Zahner developed a preweathered copper patination system for this building, today known as the eponymous Star Blue patina. An estimated 4155 pre-patina copper panels were installed on the building's surface to create the 80,000SF green-paneled surface area. The building's green surface is a mottled and variegated patina, designed to age the building's copper surface by 200 years. The natural patina will continue to grow and evolve and further protect the copper itself.
The wall system used was a modified standing seam rain-screen system. The modifications made were to the design of the visual line which is made at the seam emerging as a 45 degree angle and providing further rain-screen protection than a typical standing seam.