S.R. Crown Hall National Historic Landmark

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Historically significant architecture deserves the best protective coatings available, which is why a three-coat system from Tnemec was chosen for the renovation of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) S.R. Crown Hall. “The building was designed by internationally recognized architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who is revered by architects as the pioneer of modernist design for his buildings and the use of glass and steel,” according to Tnemec coating consultant Chris Wascher. “Crown Hall features a steel frame which is column-free. The roof of the building is suspended from the underside of four steel plate girders that are supported by eight exterior columns spaced at 60 foot intervals.”

Containment was required throughout the renovation, which included removal of the original leadbased paint from the building which was constructed in 1956. “For this project, all the windows were in need of replacement, so they were removed, making preparation of the steel substrate and coating application go much smoother and quicker,” Wascher noted.S.R. Crown Hall National Historic Landmark Exterior Front SideS.R. Crown Hall National Historic Landmark Exterior Back Side S.R. Crown Hall National Historic Landmark Exterior Full View

CL Coatings prepared the steel surface in accordance with SSPC-SP6 Commercial Blast Cleaning prior to spray-applying a prime coat of Series 90-97 Tneme-Zinc, a moisture-cured, zinc-rich aromatic polyurethane at 2.5 to 3.5 mils DFT. Next, a coat of Series 66 Hi-Build Epoxoline, a polyamide epoxy, was spray-applied at 2.0 to 6.0 mils DFT, followed by a topcoat of Series 175 Endura-Shield, an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane that is highly resistant to abrasion, wet conditions and exterior weathering. The finish coat, spray-applied at 2.0 to 5.0 mils DFT, matched the flat charcoal black color that was a Mies van der Rohe trademark.

Considered one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, Mies van der Rohe was recognized for his minimalist approach to architectural design. In a ceremony marking completion of the Crown Hall restoration project, IIT President Lew Collens described the building as “Miles van der Rohe’s masterpiece.” According to Collens, “Crown Hall has become an architectural icon, redefining the concepts of space and supporting structure.”

From 1938 to 1958, Mies van der Rohe was Director of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “As one of his last buildings erected on the IIT campus, Crown Hall was awarded the National Historic Landmark Status by the National Park Service in 2001,” Wascher added. “The building also was featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1982.”

project information

Project Name

S.R. Crown Hall national Historic Landmark

Project Location

Chicago, IL

Project Completion Date

June 2005


Illinois Institute of Technology

Orginal Architect

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Chicago, IL


CL Coatings