Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Complements its Desert Setting

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Completed in 2008, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University cuts a striking figure in downtown Phoenix. At six stories and 223,000 square feet, the building’s boxy exterior is brought to life with metal panels painted with Valspar’s Fluropon coating in Colonial Red, Terra Cotta and Copper Penny.

The colors, selected to match the surrounding desert, also mimic the FCC’s radio spectrum chart—helping the building both fit in with its surroundings and tell a story about its purpose. The gradient of colors serves as a visual “launching point,” according to project architect Steven Ehrlich, who added the design of the building puts “a lot of ambition within a single envelope.”

Fluropon is Valspar’s flagship PVDF metal coating product that offers exceptional color retention due to its resistance to ultraviolet rays prevalent in Arizona’s desert environment. The trusted durability of Fluropon assures building owners with a long-lasting product that provides great resistance to fading, staining, chalking and chemical degradation.

The metal panels were supplied by Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation, which used panels with a 3” vertical rib to achieve a textured appearance. In additional to the desert-inspired colors, another section of the building is clad in Metallic Silver with a horizontal rib, creating added visual interest.

The building has achieved LEED Silver Certification, thanks in part to its use of recycled metal and sustainable Valspar coatings, which also contributed to a fast and economical construction process. The reflective nature of the painted metal panels can also help lower cooling costs for the facility.

The building includes classrooms, lecture halls, newsrooms, multimedia facilities and the local PBS station, and gives students more than five times the space of the School of Journalism’s former home at ASU. With its variety of purposes, the building welcomes students, journalism professionals, and visitors with its colorful and modern façade.  

Two years after its completion, the building was honored with the International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design in conjunction with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

Commenting on the award, architect Ehrlich noted, “It’s not an isolated building on a campus that is sort of its own enclave. The building actually has a global viewpoint itself.”

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, AZ; http://cronkite.asu.edu/

  •          General Contractor:SUNDT Construction Tempe, AZ
  •          Architect:HDR Architecture Omaha, NE
  •          Panel supplier:Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation
  •          Panels engineering, production, Installation: Gen3 AZ LLC Tempe, AZ
  •          Coatings provider: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis; http://www.valsparcoilextrusion.com/