Coatings to Reach Dizzying Heights


Designers of tomorrow's tall buildings will demand more efficient and innovative processes from the coatings industry.

The world’s largest paint and coatings company says it stands ready to meet those demands.

Coating scientists at AkzoNobel say they are working to develop products that can mitigate against tall building collapse in the event of a fire, help the massive structures generate electricity, absorb pollutants and self-heal, to name a few.

Tall Building Conference

The company announced its innovation pipeline to many of the world’s leading tall building experts as they gathered Tuesday for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) International Conference 2013 in London.

Themed "Height and Heritage: The Unique Challenges of Building Tall in Historic Cities," this year's conference focuses on the future of and challenges presented in the European skyline. The conference takes place June 11-13.

"Tall buildings in Europe have a completely different set of physical, social, cultural and environmental issues to respond to than the rest of the world," according to the Council.

Organizers say the architects, building professionals and owners in attendance will ultimately answer the question: Is Europe correct in taking its cities skywards and, if so, what do building professionals, designers and owners need to do to create their own brand of skyscrapers while keeping in mind context and the age of the buildings?

Founded in 1969, the Council is an international member-based association sponsored by architecture, engineering, planning and construction professionals, designed to facilitate exchange among those involved in all aspects of planning, design, construction and operation of tall buildings.

The organization reported 473,264 members in 2010.

One of the responsibilities of the organization is determining the “World’s Tallest Building.” That title currently belongs to the 2,717 foot-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Tall Orders for Coating Industry

“As architects and designers constantly push for change and modernization in tall building design, the coatings industry continues to respond to, and anticipate the rapidly changing requirements of 21st century buildings through research and innovation,” AkzoNobel’s Protective Coatings Global Director Ian Walker said.

“… Coatings manufacturers look to the designers of today and tomorrow to envisage what challenges we may face,” he told an audience of all-building owners, contractors, architects, engineers, developers, planners and policy-makers at the conference.

In order to meet with ever-increasing demands for more efficient and innovative processes, the paints and coatings industry is adapting to ensure its products are even more durable and sustainable, as well as providing its customers with the assurance that it adheres to ever-changing health and safety legislation, the company said.

Product Development

“Scientists are working to produce products such as those that can mitigate against the collapse of a tall building in the event of a fire; those that can help them withstand the effects of sunlight, heat and moisture, and those that take into account the amount of time it takes to develop a tall building by minimizing the application process,” Walker said.

He added: “Tall building design has seen an increased demand for innovative solutions, which has led to unique architectural and structural solutions with inspiring results.”

The company says it will continue to invest “heavily in research and innovation to ensure” its products address the new challenges set by architects and designers, “whilst continuing to deliver a wide range of products that respond to the complex requirements of tall buildings.”

Coatings used on The Shard, Others

AkzoNobel’s products have been used on notable tall buildings around the world including, London’s The Shard, the tallest building in Europe.

The Shard

Towering 1,004 feet, The Shard in London is Europe's tallest building and used Interpon powder coatings.

Towering 1,004 feet, the recently completed structure features AkzoNobel’s Interpon powder coatings. The coatings protect and decorate the interior ceiling panels as well as its exterior aluminum, according to the manufacturer.

Other tall buildings that have utilized AkzoNobel coatings include:

  • The New York Times Building, USA
  • 1 Bligh Street, Australia
  • Capital Gate, UAE
  • Burj Al Arab, UAE
  • World Financial Centre, China
  • International Finance Centre (IFC 2), China

Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, AkzoNobel operates in more than 80 countries and has 50,000 employees. Its portfolio includes brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Architecture; Coating selection; Coatings Technology; Coatings technology; Commercial Construction; Design; Designers; Engineers

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