Rising dramatically from the banks of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion has become a defining image for the city. Completed in May 2001 as part of a museum expansion and renovation, the structure features the Burke Brise Soleil, an enormous wing-like sunscreen that is extended to a wingspan of 217 feet when the museum opens, and then retracts to cover the 90-foot high, glass-walled reception hall at the close of each day. This unique “moving sculpture” was the first building design constructed in the United States by the acclaimed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and was named “Best Design of 2001” by Time Magazine.
The complex’s pedestrian bridge, along with the sunscreen’s pedestal and intricate metal components, required a coating system that could maintain the aesthetic appeal required for such a high-profile structure and still stand up to the punishing Wisconsin winters and humid lake-shore environment. Kahler Slater, the project’s architectural firm, specified a Tnemec coating system utilizing Series 90-97 Tneme-Zinc, a zinc-rich polyurethane primer that offers exceptional corrosion resistance to steel substrates, followed by an intermediate coat of Series 27 F.C. Typoxy, a polyamide epoxy. For topcoats, the architects chose Tnemec’s proven Series 73 Endura-Shield, an aliphatic polyurethane, in a bright white, topcoated with Series 76 Endura-Clear, an aliphatic polyurethane clearcoat.
Designed to provide extended gloss retention and protect the color of the underlying pigmented coat, Series 76 Endura-Clear is infused with special additives that absorb and dissipate ultra-violet light before it can damage the chemical bonds within the coating, thus extending the life-cycle of the entire coating system and enhancing its appearance. “The art museum did not want to have to paint the building every two to three years, so we selected a product that was durable and would last a long time,” said Lou Stippich, Senior Principal at Kahler Slater.
The nearby parking garage constructed of poured-in-place concrete was primed with a waterborne epoxy called Series 151 Elasto-Grip FC and topped with two coats of Series 156 Enviro-Crete on both the interior and exterior. A premium waterborne acrylate, Series 156 has excellent adhesion and is flexible and breathable, making it ideal for protecting concrete and masonry substrates from driving rain and alternating freeze/thaw cycles.
In the end, Tnemec’s combination of beauty and protection was the final choice for this work of art.