A Color-Changing Gateway for Altara Center

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Developers in Honduras are working hard to create spaces that take advantage of the country’s convenient location and talented bilingual workforce to make it an outsourcing hotspot. One new project, the Altia Business Park, located in San Pedro Sula, is designed to give businesses more than an office park—with a university campus, medical center, hotel, exercise and sports facilities, and more. Developers planned the business park to provide a turnkey solution for businesses and their employees, pitching it as a way to let companies focus on their core business while being assured that the amenities they need are right outside their door.

For the developers, a key part of that amenity-rich environment is the Altara Center, the business park’s shopping, dining and entertainment center. Altara Center was designed to serve as a portal between the business park and visitors, which meant that its design was crucial, and its façade had to project an image that was all at once welcoming, high-tech, modern and unique.

Architect Gerardo Lopez was charged with designing the Altara Center, and in his search for a material for the façade, he came across ALPOLIC aluminum composite panels. The Prismatic line of these panels combines fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) technology with mica flake pigments in the paint, which gives the panels a sparkling, color-shifting effect, thanks to the light reflecting differently with every change in the viewing angle.

“When [Lopez] learned we could provide a finish that would be kind of like a chameleon—changing colors throughout the day as the sun changes position, as if the finish is alive—he fell in love with the idea,” said Octavio Diaz, international sales manager for ALPOLIC materials.

For Lopez, there was just one problem—the blue-purple tones he envisioned were not stocked. But ALPOLIC and Valspar teamed up to create the custom color the client was after. The team used a Pantone color as its jumping-off point, and worked through a series of samples with the client to ensure the final color was exactly as he had in mind.

Using Valspar’s Valflon coil coating not only allowed Lopez to get the perfect custom Prismatic Purple shade, it added brilliance and durability to the panels. Valflon coatings are durable FEVE fluoropolymer based resins, which creates a distinguished appearance without sacrificing on performance. They also provide excellent adhesion and flexibility properties as well as exceptional resistance to air-borne chemical and protection against weathering, chalking and fading. 

The final effect is one that is very different from the typical aluminum composite colors of silver, gray or white. In the daytime, the appearance of building shifts from light blue to deep purple depending on the time, weather and viewing angle. With the panels fastened to a concave wall, the viewing angles change significantly even for viewers standing in place. In addition to the Prismatic Purple coating, the building features multicolored LED lighting behind perforations in the cladding material, which gives it nighttime color-shifting abilities as well.

The completed Altara Center gives the business park the ideal gateway envisioned by its developers, who state that “San Pedro Sula is a vibrant city… and Altia Business Park is a world-class business and technology park with all the required energy, telecommunications, security and modern office space. All of these factors together provide a real cost-competitive advantage for a turnkey solution at a nearshore location.”

As the business park gains tenants and regular visitors, the dynamic façade of the Altara Center will continue to welcome them for many years to come.

Altara Shopping Mall, San Pedro Usula, Honduras http://www.altiabusinesspark.com/altia/altara.cfm

  •          General contractor: Grupo Karim’s
  •          Architect: Arq. Gerado Lopez
  •          Panel supplier: ALPOLIC Materials
  •          Panels engineering, production, Installation: Windotec
  •          Coatings provider: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis; http://www.valsparcoilextrusion.com/