San Francisco International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower

PPG Coil And Building Products Coatings Group

San Francisco’s famous skyline is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar makeover, with more than a dozen skyscrapers under construction. It seems only fitting that, 15 miles south, one of the city’s most frequented travel hubs is sharing in the limelight as well.

Soaring 210 feet over a latticework of bayside runways, the new air traffic control tower at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was designed by Fentress Architects in the shape of a sleek, swirling beacon of metal and glass that pays homage to the city’s centuries-old heritage as a shipping port, as well as its current incarnation as home to one of the world’s busiest airports.

A central highlight of the tower’s design is a unitized curtain wall, illuminated by a backlit glass façade, and accentuated by a framing system finished with Duranar Sunstorm XL Silver coating.

Based on PPG’s resilient 70-percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) formulation, Duranar Sunstorm XL coating is inflected with mica flake and finished with a clear top coat to produce a brilliant luster. As a result—in addition to protecting the tower’s curtain wall system—the coating helps to add sparkle to the supplemental LED lighting that enables airport management to regularly change the color of the building.

The PPG coating also complements the sophisticated cladding system that engulfs the glass and metal curtain wall, which was manufactured by Wausau Window and Wall Systems and installed by Architectural Glass & Aluminum Company. Duranar Sunstorm XL coatings were applied to the exterior aluminum framing and entrance systems by Linetec, which also finished the interior-facing aluminum framing members with Duranar Sunstorm Galaxy Silver coatings.

The tower’s spiraling metal skin incorporates 10,000 sq. ft. of formable Alucobond® Plus aluminum composite material (ACM) by 3A Composites USA. There is also a pressure-equalized rainscreen system by Keith Panel Systems, which spent more than a year modeling the tower to design the complex metal panels that produce its torch-like shape, and another four months fabricating them.

One of the industry’s first 70-percent fluoropolymer coatings, Duranar coatings have been trusted by architects and building owners for more than 50 years to protect and beautify metal building components on curtain walls, storefronts and other high-visibility applications.

Consisting of a corrosion-inhibiting primer, a color layer with mica flake and a proprietary PVDF topcoat, Duranar Sunstorm XL coating is available in a wide range of colorful, durable and chemically inert formulations that provide exceptional resistance to chalk, fade, chemical attack and surface damage caused by acid rain, salt spray and humidity, even in difficult salt-air environments such as San Francisco Bay.

Project Credits...

Owner: City and County of San Francisco

Architect: Fentress Architects, Denver

PPG Metal Coatings: Duranar® Sunstorm® XL Coating

Curtain Wall Manufacturer: Wausau Window and Wall Systems

Metal Fabricator: Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd.

Installer: Pacific Erectors Inc.

Metal Wall Panels: Alucobond® Plus Aluminum Composite Material (ACM), 3A Composites USA Inc.

Coatings Applicator: Linetec

Photography Courtesy of Prepress Media

About PPG

ppg-logoPPG offers coatings used on metal construction products. For more information, visit .

^ Back To Top