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Wellington, New Zealand's capital, sits at the southernmost tip of the country's North Island, surrounded by rugged, wind-swept coastline. It is home to one of New Zealand's three airports—Wellington International Airport.

When a decision was made to build a new international terminal as part of a five-year, two-stage development to increase the airport's capacity, Studio Pacific Architecture Ltd., Wellington, designed three terminal structures that would blend well with the rocky coastline. The largest building, which is entirely encased in copper and standing-seam cladding, has been dubbed "The Rock."

Nearly 3,000 copper panels—including 600 for the building's interior—were fabricated and installed by Wellington-based Aquaheat Industries Ltd.'s Roofing & Cladding Division during a nine-month period. Over time, the salty air will cause the copper cladding to oxidize and turn blue-green.

One of the project's biggest challenges was that no straight or square panels were used. Each panel was tapered, so the copper cladding sections had to be treated individually during measuring, fabrication and installation.

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