With its shimmering, iridescent exterior, Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral beckons visitors with its unique appearance as its color changes in different light and when viewed from different angles. Opened in November 2013, the Port’s iconic welcome center showcases the first use of Valspar’s new Kameleon™ Color mica coating as spray-applied to Firestone Metal Products’ UNA-CLAD™ metal wall panels by Linetec, one of the nation’s largest finishers of architectural aluminum.
An integral part of Florida’s Space Coast and Canaveral Cove’s revitalization, Exploration Tower is owned by Canaveral Port Authority. Its opening coincided with the Port’s 60th anniversary of its establishment and the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing on Florida’s east coast.
Taking its cues from the shapes and hues of the port, GWWO Inc./Architects designed the $23 million, seven-story, sail-shaped structure to express the common characteristics of “transience, function and imagery.” The building’s southern elevation soars from the water to the sky. It narrows in scale and reduces its exterior coverage until only the steel frame remains to outline the curvature and comes together at a peak 60-feet above the main roof level.
“The building’s dynamic form and features – sun louvers, exposed structure and iridescent skin – contribute to a constant sense of movement as the sun plays across the structure, meet functional needs, and evoke imagery of the Port and [Brevard] County," noted a project statement by the architect. "A rocket ready to launch, a surfboard in the sand, a ship’s hull, a rocket contrail; all can be seen in the structure’s striking presence.”
Skanska USA served as the general contractor of the 23,000-square-foot project. Kenpat USA was the subcontractor responsible for the exterior metal façades and wall system. Working closely with Kenpat, Firestone engineered and fabricated the façade’s metal panel system. Radius Track Corporation fabricated the curved structural framing and provided the 3-D building information modeling(BIM) to coordinate the connection points for each panel in the building’s parabolic curve. In total, Kenpat installed 42 pre-fabricated structural panelized units as sub-structure for the cladding, with the largest being 36 feet by 10 feet.
GWWO selected Valspar’s Blue Pearl II color-changing paint to capture the themes of revitalization and change it sought to represent for the Port Canaveral area. Along with its unique appearance, the finish must withstand Florida’s hurricane wind speeds, unrelenting sun and salt spray.
Kameleon Colors offer the same, advanced protection as Valspar’s 70% PVDF Fluropon® product family in rich, pearlescent pigments that shift in color when viewed from different angles. Applied in a three-coat system, Kameleon colors consist of a primer, basecoat and color coat, and are available for both extrusion and coil products.
“When creating a unique design that requires a vibrant color scheme, Kameleon Color is an excellent choice. This innovative, multicolored system uses mica flakes to create a consistent, iridescent look,” notes Tim Tritch, Valspar’s director of sales. The coating utilizes a blend of ceramic and inorganic pigments create this rich look that is both brilliant and subtle.”
Linetec also applied a clear coat over the Blue Pearl II for enhanced durability. As with other 70% PVDF resin-based coatings, Kameleon Colors meet the most stringent, exterior, architectural specification, American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s AAMA-2605. This specification requires paint coatings to meet rigorous testing performance standards, including more than 2,000 hours of cyclic corrosion per ASTM G85 annex 5, and heat- and humidity-resistance. Per AAMA-2605, the coating also must maintain its film integrity, color retention, chalk resistance, gloss retention, and erosion resistance properties for a minimum of 10 years on the South Florida testing site.
“If anyone can spray this and make it look good, it would be Linetec,” said GWWO’s senior associate, John Gregg, AIA, LEED AP, AVS, during a project planning meeting.
Accepting the praise with confidence, Linetec’s paint plant manager Paul Bratz says, “No one has sprayed this before, but our knowledgeable staff was up to the challenge. There was some trial and error during the process. It was critical that each paint run maintained the same parameters. The spray conditions, paint prep and application consistency of the paint itself were all critical. The slightest change could alter the look of the paint.”
To ensure consistency and minimize variation, Linetec modified its existing paint protocol process. Bratz explains, “The amount of paint needed for the entire project was determined and ordered as a single batch at the beginning of the project. Valspar prepared the special mica technology paint all at one time with excellent consistency, taking out the variable of multiple paint batches.”
In addition to the Kameleon Colors’ Blue Pearl II finish on southern seaside elevation, Linetec also applied Valspar’s Fluropon White finish to the northern elevation’s aluminum-framed curtainwall, which was manufactured and installed by West Tampa Glass Co. The entire project was painted in four phases, starting in March 2013 and ending in May.
The project was master planned jointly by by AECOM, Los Angeles and GWWO Inc./Architects. Structural engineering services were provided by Thornton Tomasetti of Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Linetec, Valspar and Rip Noel - Noel Studios Inc.
About Firestone Building Products Company, LLC
Firestone Building Products Company, LLC is a leading manufacturer and supplier of a comprehensive “Roots to Rooftops” portfolio of products for commercial building performance solutions. By taking the entire building envelope into consideration, Firestone Building Products meets individual customer and project needs for roofing, wall, landscape and lining solutions. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., the company also offers outstanding technical services, an international network of roofing contractors, distributors and field sales representatives, and superior warranty protection. Products include: commercial roofing systems, roofing accessories, green roofing systems, photovoltaic and daylighting systems, vegetative roofing systems, metal wall panels, insulation, cavity wall construction, pond liners and geomembranes. To learn more, visit www.firestonebpco.com.
Linetec is one of the nation’s largest paint and anodize finishers, and the largest independent architectural finisher. Located in Wisconsin, Linetec serves customers across the country, finishing such products as aluminum windows, wall systems, doors, hardware and other architectural metal components, as well as automotive, marine and manufactured consumer goods. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG). Linetec is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). To learn more, visit www.linetec.com.