Web Exclusive: Powder Coatings Protect the New York City Skyline

Hudson Yards in New York City

Powder coatings on the market today are far more versatile than the first products developed decades ago. In addition to a traditional smooth appearance, today’s powder coating technology enables the formulation of coatings that provide sparkle, color travel, special effects, and textured surfaces while providing increased protection against corrosion and weathering. Access to the ever-widening array of powder coating technologies has allowed expansion of the scope of possibilities in architectural design.

Several high-profile buildings in New York City benefit from advances in powder coating technologies offered by PPG. These include Pier 17 at South Street and several structures in the Hudson Yards development, among others.

Located in Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, Pier 17 anchors an extensive redevelopment project that is focused on transforming the historic neighborhood into a thriving cultural, retail, and entertainment center. Due to Pier 17’s location on the East River, any coating selected had to include a long-term warranty covering film integrity, chalk, and color fade.

The project also required metal coatings free of solvents, which could contribute points towards LEED® certification for the exterior curtainwall components. In the end, the Pier 17 project represented the first use of PPG DURANAR® powder coatings in a challenging marine environment.

To achieve the warranty required by the architect, the powder coating was applied over a proven liquid primer to optimize corrosion protection. To make that possible, Spectrum Metal Finishing, which is a PPG/CAP certified applicator and ISO-certified, was chosen because it had the capability to operate both liquid and powder coating lines in the same facility.

Most recently, 55 Hudson Yards in Manhattan became one of the first skyscrapers in the United States to be finished with textured powder coatings. The 51-story building is a landmark in the country’s largest-ever private real estate development.

For the Hudson Yards project, both smooth and textured PPG CORAFLON® powder coatings were used on the metal curtainwall and window frames in the custom color Black Flower, which was developed to mimic the classic cast-iron facades of neighboring SoHo and commemorate the industrial heritage of the building’s Meatpacking District setting. Nearly 20,000 pounds (9.1 metric tons) of the coatings, which are based on a proprietary fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) resin to provide satin and glosses with outstanding color retention and superior chalk resistance, were applied by Spectrum Metal Coatings, based in Youngstown, Ohio.

The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) named 55 Hudson Yards a 2020 Design Award recipient. It is one of three skyscrapers in the Hudson Yards development finished with PPG coatings.

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