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New Year, New Projects But Metal-Clad Structures Continue To Wow

By Jeff Alexander, VP of Sales, coil and extrusion division, The Valspar Corporation

Feelings of hope and excitement swept over the world as we welcomed 2017 – a new year means a new start and provides the opportunity to reflect on past experiences. We evaluate ourselves through the ups and downs, set goals for the future, reminisce about the good times and learn from the bad. It’s refreshing to have a clean slate. There are endless possibilities, and the uncertainty of what is waiting ahead sparks excitement.

As professionals in the architectural coatings industry, we are always excited for a new year in which we can share the latest products that help elevate architectural projects across the globe. New coatings are being developed industry-wide to improve color retention and trustworthy protection against common wear and tear. In addition, the creation of custom coatings provides consumers with a sense of exclusivity.

As a trend continuing into 2017, metal-clad buildings are stepping into the architectural spotlight. Interesting and exciting projects continue to pop up across the globe. With a new year comes new opportunities and in the metal-clad building sphere, innovation is abundant. The industry is seeing metal paneling straying outside of industrial architecture and becoming more relevant with playful and aesthetic-focused projects. In case you missed them before, featured here are five different metal-clad buildings that exemplify the diverse opportunities for designing and building with metal. What this year's new metal-clad stars will look like is anyone's guess, but if these already-completed projects are any indication, they'll be as attractive as they are innovative.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Click to see more on this project.

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

The latest architectural addition to the Detroit Zoo is the new and improved penguin exhibit. Architects from Albert Kahn Associates were tasked with designing an exhibit resembling the continent to which these aquatic birds are native - Antarctica. The architects designed the building to look like an iceberg by using metal panels supplied by IMETCO that were chosen to replicate the sharp and jagged edges of the Antarctic landscape.

A custom shade of Valspar’s Fluropon® Classic II Special SR was used to coat the panels. A piercing white with a subtle hint of blue custom coating color was created for this project to mimic the sun glistening on the snow. Pairing two complementary colors together, like this project, is something more and more customers are taking advantage of. Multicolored structures offer a dynamic and intriguing aesthetic.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. This new transportation station sets the gold standard for similar projects. Featured on portions of its exterior are metal wall panels.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)

Located about 45 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles in Anaheim, California, ARTIC is proud to be the first ever transportation hub with Platinum LEED certification. The center, with 10 transportation offerings, also provides travelers with dining and shopping options, 1,000 parking spaces, bike lockers and charging stations for electric vehicles. The ARTIC project was led by Clark Construction Group-California LP and envisioned by Architects from HOK.

The three-story, domed structure consists of crisscrossing steel arches and colossal windows, creating a naturally lit, welcoming atrium. Econolap Exposed Fastener CENTRIA metal wall panels, are used on a portion of the exterior and finished in Valspar’s custom Silver Valspar Fluropon® coating. ARTIC is a great example of how architects are not settling for the average appearance when designing even seemingly mundane projects. Some of the most intriguing structures are those where creativity is not anticipated and unexpectedly presents itself.

Kanner Residence. Click to see more on this project.

Kanner Residence

Architectural coatings aren’t only for commercial or industrial buildings; they’re also excellent for residential use. Alan Kanner, co-founder and principal of Added Dimensions Construction, was inspired to renovate what was originally unremarkable into a modernist’s dream house. He wanted to have a unique and playful place to call home. With the help of Mark McInturff, a colleague and FAIA of McInturff Architects, Kanner’s vision became a reality.

The exterior of the house is plated with ATAS International Inc.’s aluminum Opaline metal walls panels. The base panels are coated with Valspar’s Fluropon® in Black, selected to highlight the carefully chosen accent colors. Blue, red, yellow, and teal accents contrast against the black backdrop of the panels to resemble the paintings from Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series.

Interior design has most always been a vital part in making a house a home. Expression through decoration allows for personalization of living quarters. Exterior design is just as important as the interior when it comes to showcasing personality, and more people are displaying their unique taste on the outside, as well.

Miami Marlins Stadium. Click to see more on this project

Miami Marlins Stadium

Sports stadiums often opt for metal panel exteriors. The Miami Marlins professional baseball stadium received a makeover from its original classic design to a fresh, modern exterior. But the look, designed by Populous of Kansas City, Missouri, is not all that is new to Marlins Park.

The stadium is also the first in Major-League Baseball to achieve a LEED Gold Certification, making Marlins Park the most sustainable stadium in the league. Helping with this achievement was CENTRIA’s panel systems that featured Valspar’s Fluropon® architectural metal coating. After the remodel, Marlins Park stands out proudly from the Miami skyline with white and silver exuberance.

Michigan Tech University Great Lakes Research Center. Click to see more on this project.

Michigan Tech University Great Lakes Research Center

Moving away from the urban, we find this research facility on the shore of Portage Lake, adjacent to the Keweenaw Waterway in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Being a facility dedicated to the study of a significant ecosystem, the Great Lakes, it is no surprise that the Great Lakes Research Center was designed to be environmentally mindful of its shoreline location. In addition, the university wanted the new building to meet LEED Silver standards.

The architect team of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc., decided that with its low environmental impact, CENTRIA metal would be the best choice as one of the materials for the building’s exterior. The metal wall panels are coated with Valspar’s Fluropon® Classic in Silversmith and Medium Gray and paired with a Deep Blue Sea Fluropon® coating, which accents the silver and gray metal wall panels and brick finish of the building.

The world of architecture and design is ever-changing and we as coating manufacturers are always striving to provide the best services and tools. Each contemporary structure that uses exterior architectural metal coatings inspires all of us in the industry to reach higher and go further. One thing is for certain - this year will hold many surprises, but we can’t wait to see what happens.

About Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings

Sherwin-Williams-SD-logoSherwin-Williams Coil Coatings delivers a full range of high-performance coatings in polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), silicone-modified polyester (SMP), and polyester formulas, designed to meet the most demanding environmental requirements while providing protection against weathering and pollution. The Coil Coatings Division is part of the Sherwin-Williams Performance Coatings Group, which supplies a broad range of highly-engineered solutions for construction, industrial, packaging, and transportation markets in more than 110 countries in the world. Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings, and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers. For more information about Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings, visit

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