By John Ryan, Metal Construction Association
This month Grand Central Terminal in New York City is celebrating its 100th birthday. The iconic landmark has been a transportation hub for generations of travelers and commuters, and a destination for tourists and visitors looking to get a flavor for the Big Apple’s history.
I had the good fortune of working several blocks of Grand Central for several years prior to joining the Metal Construction Association, and often visited it to grab a bite for lunch, meet a friend who was coming to town, or just to enjoy the beauty of the main concourse.
While the main concourse is stunning, and on each visit I would notice for the first time architectural details that I had never noticed before, I always found Grand Central’s copper roof to be striking. With its green-patina and ornate details, it seemed to be the perfect crown for one of the city’s most impressive landmarks.
But after spending time with MCA, I now have a greater appreciation for what that roof represents. It’s not just a beautiful architectural detail, but it’s also a high-performance feature that helped the building stand the test of time. The original roof, installed in 1913, was recently replaced with a new copper roof as part of a recent renovation, even though engineers determined that it was still serviceable almost 100 years later. That’s something that the average person might take for granted, or not fully appreciate. But not only did the copper roof look great, it performed well for nearly a century.
That’s 100 years. In New York City. That is quite an accomplishment, and speaks to the performance and beauty of metal roofs.