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Historic-preservation

Historical building with zinc roof gleams with a new splendour.

Although zinc was only first established as a metal in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century, it was quickly adopted in vernacular architecture. The most important German architect of the 19th century, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, designed buildings using zinc for covers, flashing, ornamentation and roofing.

Since then, many historical buildings have been built with zinc roofs that have fulfilled their visual and technical functions for numerous decades. Today, these historic buildings must be refurbished in compliance with heritage conservation standards.
Zinc should be left as nature intended!

There is no doubt that cheaper roofing materials are now available. These have a poorer ecological footprint and use artificial coatings to imitate the appearance of zinc for a certain time. However, in the long run, they will be recognised for the cheap solutions that they are.

For instance, when refurbishing the Flora building in Cologne, the decision was made to replace the roof with a real zinc roof, as in the refurbishment of many other listed buildings. Flora is the modern name for the glass palace built around 150 years ago that forms the centrepiece of the Cologne Botanical gardens.

The building was originally constructed in glass and iron. After its destruction in the Second World War, sufficient funds were not available to rebuild the building in its original form. Instead, the Flora was given a utilitarian tiled roof and was later used as a banqueting hall.

Thanks to the accurate and detailed refurbishment of this zinc roof, the Cologne Flora will be enjoyed by many generations to come. The Flora building will tower over the botanical gardens for another 150 years as a testimony to 19th-century history and culture.

Further reading

Exhibitor: RHEINZINK GmbH & Co. KG

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