Huntsman Polyurethanes has played a key role in the construction of the spectacular 'water roof' on the Forum Building in Barcelona, Spain. The unusual roof design was made possible by a special coating developed by De Neef Technologies, which is based on Huntsman Polyurethanes' isocyanate and amine components.

The Forum Building, which is the brainchild of Swiss architectural partners Herzog & De Meuron, is renowned for its spectacular ‘water roof.' This unique design feature was created using a special polyurea spray coating developed by Huntsman Polyurethanes and De Neef Technologies, an international manufacturer of construction chemicals for specialty preventative and remedial waterproofing products.

The unusual concrete roof structure, which spans 14,000 square meters, is supported by 17 pillars and looks like an immense suspended swimming pool when seen from above. Inspired by the nearby Mediterranean Sea, the roof has a deep blue façade and is awash with flowing water. As well as being aesthetically striking, the structure, which is interspersed with windows providing a dramatic view of the sky above, serves a practical purpose by keeping the building cool during the summer months.

During construction, the size and scale of the roof prohibited the use of traditional waterproofing options, which are unable to handle temperature-induced stretching and shrinking of concrete brought about by structural stresses. Conventional ‘sandwich' methods were also ruled out as too time-consuming.

Felix Moral, general manager of De Neef Technologies, explains, "Polyurea was the obvious ‘all-in-one' high-performance solution for this demanding application. Its characteristics combine the crack bridging elasticity of an elastomeric membrane with the excellent wear resistance properties needed to cope with a regular maintenance program. It also enabled a quick installation, meaning we could keep to our customer's tight construction schedule."

De Neef's polyurea membrane Aquatek Film EC500 is a fast gel/cure system based on Huntsman Polyurethanes' SUPRASEC® 2049 isocyanate and JEFFAMINE® amine components. It is solvent-free with zero volatile organic compounds. The cured protective coating combines important elongation of around 500 per cent with high tensile strength and excellent abrasion and impact resistance. At the Forum building, it was sprayed in one layer to a thickness of 2 mm (80 mils).

For more information or to arrange an interview with a representative from Huntsman Polyurethanes, contact Natalie Yates/Kim Bithel/Nick Tapper at Ware Anthony Rust by telephone at +44 (0) 1223 566 212 or by e-mail at / /