18 October 2020 | 1 mins

Why some buildings in Hamburg have a greenish roof?

Picture of Hamburg Rathaus

There are a lot of things I like about Hamburg and the buildings are one of them. Besides the brick buildings in Hamburg, I also like some buildings because of their architecture. Hamburg Rathaus is one of them.

When you look at Rathaus first time, it is almost impossible to be captivated. The building itself is not the subject of this blog post so I am not going to go into beautiful details of the building but something that building has is. If you wander around in Hamburg, you might see that some of the buildings in the city have a roof like Rathaus. A roof that looks in greenish (turquoise) color. When I realized this common pattern, I thought that maybe it is something related to the culture or religion and they are painting to this color because of that. That’s how I explained myself that why those turquoise roofs have the same tone. So, I wanted to learn the details.

After a few minutes of DuckDuckGo/Wikipedia search, I found that those turquoise roofs are not like normal roofs. They are being made out of copper. Now, you are probably thinking like wait a second, copper doesn’t look like that. Yes, copper doesn’t look like that but after many years, they look like that. The turquoise color that we see there is something called patina. It forms on copper after many years depending upon environmental conditions and chemical reaction with water and carbon dioxide.

When I look at the Wikipedia page about Copper in architecture, I saw that there are many advantages of using copper. Besides all the advantages, we also see a beautiful turquoise color after many years. Also seems like the gem that shares the same name with this color has meaning for many different cultures.

The pastel shades of turquoise have endeared it to many great cultures of antiquity: it has adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs (and possibly other Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans), Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and to some extent in ancient China since at least the Shang Dynasty.

If you are interested, you can check history of use of Turquoise gem on Wikipedia.

The only thing that I am currently wondering is that how Hamburg Rathaus looked like right after the construction. If you look at the picture of The Statue of Liberty in its original color, you will understand what I mean.

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