Painted Metal Adds To Strength And Splendor Of Top Stadium Projects

Jeff_AlexanderBy Jeff Alexander, Valspar Corporation

Metal panels are a common building component in athletic arenas across the globe. From exterior façades to structural beams, nearly every stadium relies on metal materials for aesthetic purposes, strength and durability. That being said, sometimes metal needs a bit of help to resist harsh weather conditions and show off a vivid color or specific aesthetic element. Consequently, often times an architectural coating is added to metal panels. Architectural coatings have long adorned the exterior of many iconic stadiums, providing eye-catching façades and increasing the longevity of the buildings. Below, we’ll take a look at a few of the ways architectural coatings are enlisted to support the structure of stadiums both in protection and design visions:

Beijing National Stadium (photo by Tim Griffith)

Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest); Beijing, China

In 2008, Beijing hosted what’s considered to be the most expensive Summer Olympics in history. Investing an estimated $40 billion into the Olympic infrastructure, China assembled some of the most spectacular and architecturally complex buildings in the country. The crown jewel of these facilities is the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest.

The Bird’s Nest, designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, features an exterior formed from 42,000 tons of woven steel to create a nest-like structure and is illuminated by glowing lights from the inner atrium. The stadium’s iconic façade is supported by a sleek internal framing system composed of extruded columns that are finished in a PVDF coating in dual silvers. The PVDF architectural coatings boast enhanced durability and color retention, protecting the brilliance of the structure’s hue and, when paired with the sturdiness of its extruded columns, ensure the 91,000-seat Beijing National Stadium will hold football matches and athletic tournaments for centuries to come.


Arenas Das Dunas; Natal, Brazil

In preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, architects from Populous helped bring to life Arena das Dunas, a vibrant new stadium that would serve as the center of the iconic tournament.

The hallmark of the stadium is its outer shell—made up of 20 huge aluminum canopies that curl around the arena and mimic the nearby sand dunes. The canopies are made with a steel truss structure clad with aluminum tiles and 6,000 square-meters of polycarbonate sheets that are coated with an epoxy primer to provide excellent adhesion, durability and water resistance. Additionally, a polyester-based architectural coating in a bright white hue was applied with a matte clearcoat finish offering extended UV protection, giving the arena the longevity to stand up to the Brazilian sun.

T-Mobile Arena; Las Vegas, NV, United States

Designed with ambitions to secure an NHL expansion team and welcome more than 100 annual events, final plans for the T-Mobile Arena called for the largest arena ever built in Las Vegas.

Architects drafted plans for the building’s ambitious façade with the goal of combining aspects of the nearby desert with the luxury of the Strip. The result includes 100,000 square-feet of custom-fabricated metal shingles, gilded with a PVDF coating in nine rustic colors. The architectural coating is formulated to stand up to harsh weather conditions, and maintain resistance against chalking, fading and ultraviolet rays, acting as a functional layer as well as achieving the desired aesthetic.

Cowboy Stadium

Cowboy Stadium; Dallas, TX, United States

The Cowboy’s Stadium in Dallas, Texas features a custom silver colored PVDF coating that provides an aesthetic contrast to the bright green field, in addition to increasing the durability of the manufactured and fabricated structural components of the stadium. Both coil and extrusion coatings were used on nearly half a million square feet of stadium surface, which set a precedent in architectural design and construction.

Architectural coatings allow architects to bring their design visions to life, whether on ordinary buildings or on some of the grandest stadiums across the globe, and achieve a wide variety of aesthetics without sacrificing strength and durability. The next time you head to cheer on your favorite sports team, notice the stadium that they call home – chances are you’ll spot coated metal panels that add to both the structure and design, creating an environment for all to enjoy.

Jeff Alexander has been with Valspar for 19 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Sales for the company's Coil and Extrusion Businesses. He is also a past president of the National Coil Coating Association. To learn more about Valspar products, visit

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