Category Archives: Polycarbonate

Tips On Hobby Greenhouses


Hobby greenhouse helps gardeners stay busy year-round

By Rodd Moesel


The weather is clearly changing as nighttime low temperatures dip to the 40s and the tree leaves start to change colors and get ready for their autumn dance to earth. You can smell the cooler fall weather, and meteorologists are talking about wind chill temperatures again. The first frost and then the first freeze normally arrive in the next two or three weeks on the calendar.It’s time to start planning for any tropical or annual plants you want to save and bring inside for winter. Some plants may be too large to save, but you can take stem cuttings to root and carry over for spring. Most tropicals need to be kept near windows in good light if you are going to try to winter them in the house.

Many people look at the killing fall freeze as the end of a special season or memory and a chance for a clean palette to start their garden anew next spring. Others can’t bear to lose beloved plants, large porch or patio gardens, or special plant collections.

You can save a few plants in your house, but space and access to light often limit the number of plants you can bring in the house. This makes a hobby greenhouse the best option.

A hobby greenhouse can also be a fun way to produce vegetables through the winter, to grow seeds and cuttings, to start transplants for next spring or to start a collection of orchids, begonias, bonsai or the special plants of your choice.

You can buy a kit greenhouse at local stores or via the Internet, or you can build a greenhouse frame and cover it with a number of greenhouse skins or glazings. Decent kit greenhouses start at about $1,000 and go as high as $20,000. Most of the inexpensive kits are made of lightweight galvanized metal or polycarbonate extrusions and are covered with plastic film or single-wall polycarbonate panels. The frames go up in cost as the metal frame gets heavier or you switch to aluminum frames or painted frames. A few kits use redwood or cedar wood as the frame, but more than 85 percent of the kits sold use metal frames, which probably offer the most strength for the money.

The earliest types of greenhouses that used more glazed glass are still available but not used as often because of the glazing cost and because it takes more structure to support the glass. Glass is available in 1/8-inch-thick tempered glass and in energy-saving insulated glass panels. The most popular glazings these days are single-wall corrugated clear polycarbonate panels or the energy-saving twin-wall polycarbonate in 6- or 8-millimeter-thick panels.

Some kits still use corrugated fiberglass, and newer kits use the more expensive corrugated or twin-wall acrylic panels that will stay clear longer. Greenhouse-grade ultraviolet-resistant polycarbonate panels offer the most strength, durability and light transmission for the money.

Twin-wall panels save almost 30 percent to 35 percent in energy. Greenhouse copolymer plastic film is the least expensive glazing. When you install two layers and blow air between the layers, greenhouse plastic film is one of the most energy-efficient choices.

If you build your own wood or metal frame or convert a garage, shop or other building, you can buy good greenhouse glazing to put on your frame. You can use 4-foot-wide corrugated polycarbonate panels that install by overlapping the panels and screwing them to the frame.

You will need heat in your greenhouse. A unit heater is usually the best choice. Natural gas is generally the cheapest commercial fuel, followed by propane. Electric heat is the cheapest to install but costs the most to operate.

Even if you only use the greenhouse in fall, winter and spring, you will need ventilation, as all greenhouse owners very quickly appreciate the power of solar energy. You can provide winter cooling with side and roof vents or with a motorized shutter on one end and an exhaust fan on the opposite end.

It is usually best to automate the ventilation on a thermostat, because we often need cooling near the middle of the day even in the winter. It is not unusual to have the fan come on to ventilate on a 40-degree or 45-degree day. If it is clear and sunny outside, it is possible for the greenhouse temperature to rise to more than 100 degrees because of solar radiation if you are not ventilating.

You will probably need to add shade cloth and an evaporative cooler if you want to use the greenhouse in summer.

Although you can buy hobby greenhouses from mail-order catalogs or over the Internet, I would encourage you to buy this specialized equipment locally for the best advice on frames, glazing materials, sizing, heating and cooling equipment and shade percentages for this area. There are several good suppliers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that would be familiar with our area’s conditions to help you select the right hobby greenhouse for your application and crops.

Now is the time to plant pansies, viola, ornamental kale and cabbage and to select and plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, crocus and daffodils. This is also a great time to mulch your more tender hardy plants to help insulate their roots and protect them for the winter ahead.

Rodd Moesel serves on the Oklahoma Horticulture Industrial Council and the Oklahoma State University agriculture dean’s advisory committee. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association. E-mail garden and landscape questions to


Posted by on October 25, 2007 in General Knowledge, Polycarbonate, Recreation


Use Makrolon Polycarbonate For Armoured Vehicles


Makrolon® Hygard: the easy way to security

The security glazing Makrolon® Hygard is not only used in construction and industry, but its containment and bullet-resistant properties also make it more and more popular in personal security. In areas that require higher security, the transparent security glazing now frequently replaces conventional security glass. With its enormous impact resistance and ballistic protection, Makrolon® Hygard fits the highest security standards.


The resistant polycarbonate sheets are – among other uses – an ideal material for armored vehicles requiring security glazing and protecting prominent individuals at public appearances. In Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East, Makrolon® Hygard has become part of the standard equipment of police cars and in personal security. Because of political instability and the growing vulnerability and use of violence towards politicians and corporate managers, the market for security glazing has seen a strong growth in recent years in many countries. Since September 11, 2001, the danger of terror attacks has also increased in Central and Western Europe, having an impact on the security consciousness of people and triggering the demand for the impact-resistant Makrolon® Hygard.

(image not part of original article)

Makrolon® Hygard has significant processing advantages over conventional security glazing. Time-consuming pre-cutting is unnecessary: the material can simply be sawed, drilled, or milled. Thorsten Jung, who is in charge of the industry sector at Bayer Polymers Sheet Europe, views these properties as crucial for the use of the sheets in personal security. “Makrolon® Hygard”, he says, “offers the manufacturers of security equipment maximum flexibility in their production. It saves them tremendous cost and allows them to use the material in a more effective way.” With a weight of only about one-third the weight of glass, Makrolon® Hygard is nonetheless shatterproof and does not pulverize. The break-resistant and bulletproof material is an effective protection from violent impact and can withstand even automatic firearms. If the sheets are hit, they do not “spider web” but retain complete vision, allowing the passengers inside the vehicle to better assess the situation during an attack. Makrolon® Hygard is therefore an excellent material for office and police vehicles. It also offers a high degree of protection in accidents.

Not really an armored car, per se, but it is a Makrolon Polycarbonate shell…

In addition to personal protection, the increasing need for security in industry and trade is also prompting the growth of the security glazing market. Makrolon® Hygard offers businesses excellent solutions to protect themselves from criminal acts and violence. At the same time, Makrolon® Hygard allows the indispensable eye contact between customers and employees. Tellers in banks, night windows at gas stations, or showcases with precious goods in retail stores are well protected by Makrolon® Hygard but do not block natural light, which is an important factor for the feeling of well-being of employees and customers.

Makrolon® Hygard owes its extreme strength to its laminated multiple-layer glazing. Polycarbonate sheets alternate with polyurethane interlayers. A special coating makes them easy to clean and highly resistant to scratches. Unlike other transparent materials that allow light to pass through, Makrolon® Hygard is UV stable and remains crystal clear even after years of use. Bayer Polymers Sheet Europe offers the security sheets in different varieties and configurations in thickness from 10 to 33 millimeters. The Makrolon® Hygard properties have been tested and classified in accordance with HPW TP 0500.02, ASTM 1-41, and HPM 1-54.


Posted by on September 27, 2007 in Polycarbonate


New York Jedi Knights Use Polycarbonate Light Sabres


Editor’s Note: Jedi Knights – believe it or not – are the 4th largest religion in Britain and are now seeking official recognition from the UN.

A Jedi Order Establishes a New Temple — in Lower Manhattan

By Charles Graeber Email 09.24.07 | 2:00 PM

Illustration: Jessica Hische

General sun wants coffee with a double shot of espresso. General Kalius A’dar will take a black iced tea. Cyran Oghma is all set, thanks. “Anything else, you guys?” Master Flynn asks the others assembled. As the founder of the New York Jedi, Master Flynn (no last name) knows mind tricks don’t work in Starbucks. You can’t order telepathically, and you still have to say “venti” when you really mean extra large.On Tuesdays, Master Flynn and his Jedi posse squeeze into a few corner tables in this busy café before heading to lightsaber training at a dance studio down the street. Sessions can be grueling, starting with meditation and yoga poses before moving on to choreographed swordplay.

Star Wars is all about the hero’s journey,” says General Sun, an intense, goateed red-head in a tight green T-shirt. He sips carefully on his supercharged coffee. “Get that lightsaber in your hands and suddenly you’re like, ‘Hey, maybe I can be a hero, too!'”

In the Star Wars universe, a Jedi fashions a lightsaber by packing Adegan crystals into a handle with a power cell. In the New York Jedi galaxy, knights order them for $150 to $700 a pop from a guy upstate. Some Jedis arrive at Starbucks with their weapons slung across their backs, like mendicant samurai. Others, like Master Flynn, use a guitar case, gangster-style.

“Dude, I am soooo digging this new saber,” Cyran Oghma says. He wields a 40-inch-long polycarbonate rod loaded with LEDs and sporting a hilt of welded carbon steel coated with plastic from a truck-bed liner, glass “jewels,” and random electronic circuitry. “Sweet,” he says. Cyran Oghma cuts the Starbucks air with practiced chops, then strikes a ready pose. The couple at the next table quietly close their laptops and leave.

“The thing is, when you hold a lightsaber, you want to use it!” says General Sun as he flips the switch on his lightsaber. It powers up with the signature hum of voltage, like an electric razor on mescaline, and the tube radiates solid white. “So the new ones have the noise chip, and they’re thicker,” he says. “They’re made for dueling.” Behind him, the other customers glance nervously at the growing circle of swordsmen and their blades.

“The nerd element of being a Jedi is pretty obvious,” Cyran Oghma says. “We’re all huge nerds. But it’s more than that, more than Star Wars. If you base yourself on a character who has high personal ethics and a high level of skill and confidence, there is no way that’s not going to influence who you really are.”

By day, General Kalius A’dar is an unemployed technical director for theaters, Master Flynn installs home theater components, General Sun is a professional dancer and Monkey Kung Fu instructor, and Cyran Oghma teaches Western fencing and Philippine escrima style swordplay for actors. But on Tuesdays, they’re Jedi Knights.

Cyran Oghma describes his persona as a sort of drunken poet Jedi. “Like Jack Sparrow meets Cyrano,” he says. With his wild eyes, scraggly goatee, and long hair pulled back in an Anakin Skywalker meets Gene Simmons thing, he’s rather convincing. Also, Cyran Oghma is actually acting a little drunk. “Most people, you know, saw the movie as kids,” he grins. “And they saw that lightsaber, and they were like, ‘Yes. I want one!’ It’s just a cool, cool weapon. And then their dad had to explain that it wasn’t real. But now…”

Cyran Oghma powers up his customized weapon. It glows brightly. It makes that whooshing noise. And at 6:15 pm in a Starbucks not so far away, a new hero is born.

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Posted by on September 25, 2007 in DIY, Polycarbonate


Bayer Makrolon: Investing In A Sustainable Future


Bayer MaterialScience Continues Commitment to Sustainable Development

(Business Wire) :: The north wall of the 2005 Carnegie Mellon Solar Decathlon competition house (pictured) uses translucent polycarbonate siding provided by Bayer MaterialScience.

Makrolon(R) Polycarbonate and Other Bayer Materials Featured in Carnegie Mellon University’s Solar Decathlon Competition House

Bayer MaterialScience LLC (BMS) continues its commitment to sustainable development education and research by again participating as a sponsor of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2007 Solar Decathlon competition house. Progress on the latest Carnegie Mellon decathlon project was showcased yesterday afternoon at an event at Pittsburgh’s “Construction Junction,” the construction site for the university’s 2007 Solar Decathlon competition house.

“We are proud to be continuing our involvement with this important project through our sponsorship of another Carnegie Mellon Solar Decathlon house,” said Mark Witman, Director, Future Business, Industry Innovations, BMS LLC. “The 2007 project makes extensive use of Bayer MaterialScience’s Makrolon(R) polycarbonate. Makrolon is the backbone of Bayer’s broad product portfolio and a material that has been an important part of the innovative design and environmentally conscious construction of the Solar Decathlon house.”

BMS supplied the translucent polycarbonate siding for the north wall of the 2005 Carnegie Mellon Solar Decathlon house. The Makrolon polycarbonate material will also be used in a light diffusing insulating roof panel for the 2007 competition house. It is the same high-tech and energy-efficient polycarbonate sheet that BMS is supplying for the roofing material for sporting arenas at China’s 2008 Olympic Games.

The Carnegie Mellon team has also chosen Makrolon Multiwall IQ-Relax reflective polycarbonate sheet for windows in the house. This insulating product reflects infrared energy – and consequently heat – by virtue of its unique composition and multiwall structure. The sheets function as panes in concept windows in the 2007 structure and provide high light diffusion and extreme heat reduction that result in increased energy efficiency. Bayer MaterialScience collaborated with TRACO, a southwestern Pennsylvania-based commercial and residential window manufacturer, to design the concept windows.

BaySystems North America LLC supplied BaySeal(TM) sprayed foam insulation for sealing and insulating portions of the building envelope of the competition house. BaySeal spray polyurethane foam is a highly efficient insulating material, and homeowners have reported energy savings of 50 percent or more over conventional insulation systems like fiberglass. It also serves to reduce air movement in and around the wall, thus cutting down on cold air drafts by achieving a moisture and thermal seal. The 2-pound, closed-cell BaySeal spray foam insulation was applied to the structure by InsulRight of North Versailles, Pa.

Other BMS materials are also featured in the 2007 competition house, including Baydur(R) polyurethane insulating foam raw material that was used by CENTRIA Architectural Systems to manufacture the polyurethane/metal composite panels used for the building exterior. VIVAK(R) co polyester sheet, supplied by Bayer subsidiary Sheffield Plastics Inc., is used by 3form, Inc., to produce its decorative architectural panels that are being used for a variety of interior design and architectural applications.

The Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, is a two-year process where 20 collegiate teams from across the United States, Europe and Canada compete to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. In October the teams will transport their solar houses to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where they will form a solar village. The schools will then compete in 10 contests to determine an overall winner. Using only energy from the sun, the competing structures will generate enough electricity to run a modern household.

“At Bayer, we are committed to the principles of sustainable development and strive to make a lasting and positive contribution to sustainable and environmentally compatible construction,” said Witman. “As an ongoing part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Solar Decathlon Project, we continue to demonstrate our dedication to treating the planet responsibly while offering products that can be used to generate creative solutions to address global concerns about the environment.”

The design of the 800-square-foot 2007 Carnegie Mellon solar house is based on the “plug and play” construction concept, which demonstrates the ways in which basic building blocks can be reconfigured to suit multiple contexts. The design is also multi-level to increase useable floor area for a given footprint. Construction of the 2007 house concludes this month at Construction Junction in Pittsburgh.

“We appreciate Bayer’s ongoing involvement and support of this project,” said Steve Lee, architecture faculty advisor to the Carnegie Mellon team. “We believe that the 2007 solar house, with the use of Makrolon polycarbonate resin, will be another successful example of innovative and sustainable urban design.”

Following the Solar Decathlon competition Oct. 12-20 in

Washington, D.C., the 2007 Carnegie Mellon solar house will become a permanent addition to the facilities in Powdermill Nature Reserve, located outside Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County. Powdermill Nature Reserve is an outdoor educational center and biological field station affiliated with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with nearly 14,900 employees at 30 sites around the world and 2006 sales of 10.2 billion euros from continuing operations. Our innovative developments in coatings, adhesive and sealant raw materials, polycarbonates, polyurethanes and thermoplastic urethane elastomers enhance the design and functionality of products in a wide variety of markets, including the automotive, construction, electrical and electronics, household and medical industries, and the sports and leisure fields. Our inorganic basic chemicals unit produces chlorine and related essential products for the chemicals industry. Let us give life to your vision. Bayer MaterialScience – Where VisionWorks.

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2006 net sales of 7.8 billion euros and employed 17,200 at year end. Bayer’s three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people’s lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability. Bayer AG stock is a component of the DAX and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: BAY).

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

VIVAK(R) is a registered trademark of Sheffield Plastics, Inc.
BaySeal(TM) is a registered trademark of BaySystems North America LLC

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Posted by on September 25, 2007 in General Knowledge, Polycarbonate


Use Polycarbonate For Safe Rooms


A Chicken in every Pot and a Safe Room in every Home

In the recent blockbuster movie, “Panic Room,” Jodie Foster and her teenage daughter cower in a high-tech bunker off the bedroom of her New York multi-story apartment while a trio of robbers enters downstairs. The movie apparently struck a chord with audiences, as it became the biggest Easter weekend opening in history, grossing a record $30 million. Panic rooms, more commonly known as safe rooms, are spaces inside a home or business where people seek refuge in times of perceived or imminent danger. Designers and builders of safe rooms are reporting increased inquiries since September 11 and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, every year there are close to half a million violent crimes involving handguns that happen in or near the home. The number of residential break-ins and forced intrusions is even higher. Once limited to the rich and famous, safe rooms are now within reach of the average homeowner.

Most elaborate or high-tech safe rooms can cost between $50,000 and $250,000 and provide protection from tornadoes, intruders, ballistic, and even chemical weapon assaults. These types of safe rooms require reinforced concrete walls and ceilings, specialty ventilation and plumbing systems, oxygen systems, a back-up generator, food and water supplies, closed-circuit video, and phone lines that are impossible to locate or cut. People can stay in this type of safe room for as long as events warrant, whether it is a few minutes or a few days. A recent and more affordable safe room design is based on the premise that a safe room should keep its occupants alive for a minimum of 15 minutes and ideally for half an hour, when police should have arrived. In most cases an ordinary closet can be converted into a safe room that can withstand forced intrusion or even ballistic attack from handguns or rifles for less than $10,000.

Intrusion Deterrence

A common choice for a safe room is the master closet. For an average family of 4 the closet dimensions should be at least 6′ by 8′. After framing the closet with steel or wood studs @ 16″ OC, the next step will be to install a heavy-gauge steel mesh system known as Secura Room™ on the walls and ceilings of the safe room. This system is specifically designed to delay or defeat attempts at forced entry or intrusion using axes, sledge hammers, chainsaws, or wrecking bars.

These steel mesh panels are attached to the studs using diamond shaped steel fasteners at 12″ intervals. This will help to further stiffen the walls and increase its resistance to intrusion. Eventually, drywall will cover the expanded steel mesh.

This security mesh is available from AMICO Security Products, a division of Alabama Metal Industries Corporation, and a 6′ x 8′ closet with this system will cost approximately $1,500, materials and installation.

A typical example of this type of installation is pictured on the right.

Bullet Resistance

The next layer of security to install in the safe room is designed to withstand more than an attempt at forced physical entry. After the steel mesh system has been installed, and before the drywall goes up, a system known as ArmorCore® bullet resistant fiberglass panels will be fastened to our stud walls on top of the steel mesh.

These are dense 4′ x 8′ fiberglass panels that weigh 160 pounds per sheet and are 7/16″ in thickness. They are fastened to the studs using 1-5/8″ self-drilling wafer head Phillips screws that are designed to attach dense sheathings to steel or wood studs. Ribs beneath the screw head countersink the head and prevent strip-out. These specialty screws are available from McMaster-Carr Supply Company and cost $8.00 per 100 pieces. Screws are applied at 16″ intervals.

ArmorCore® panels are One-Hour Fire-Rated per ASTM E119-98 and are UL Listed for their compliance to the UL752 Standard for Bullet Resisting Equipment. These panels come in 8 different levels of bullet resistance with Level 3 being the most common for residential safe rooms. ArmorCore® Level 3 is designed to defeat a .44 Magnum handgun, commonly known as the “Dirty Harry,” with a muzzle velocity of 1350 feet per second. These panels are designed to defeat the energy of bullets by a process of internal ply-delamination, which helps to compress or flatten the bullet and trap it within the panel. A 6′ x 8′ safe room with ArmorCore® panels attached to the walls and ceiling will cost approximately $3,700 plus installation, which can be done by a drywall contractor.

All butt-joints of the ArmorCore® panels will need to be backed with 4″-wide batten strips of the same level 3 material. Butt joints should occur between stud centers so that the battens occur within the stud cavities.

The ArmorCore® panels will be covered with ½” Type-X drywall to insure the ASTM E119-98 One-Hour Fire-Rated wall assembly.

Self-tapping drywall screws can be used to fasten the drywall to the bullet resistant fiberglass panels. An installation using ArmorCore® panels is shown in the picture above.

Safe Room Doors

A variety of door and frame products can be installed that must also provide the same degree of resistance to forced entry and firearms as the walls and ceiling. This will take the expertise of a door company that specializes in safe room doors. The frame, the lock, and the hinges are an extremely important element in the design of a safe room door. Electromagnetic lock systems insure top security with the ability to withstand tremendous forces. Continuous geared hinges made by PEMKO are recommended for swing doors to ensure maximum strength.

Safe room doors can be customized to match existing raised panel or other custom doors used in the home. SUN-DOR-CO of Newton, Kansas specializes in raised panel pre-hung bullet resistant doors with European style multipoint locks that cost between $3,000 and $4,000. Other manufacturers provide flush type safe room doors made with wood or steel for between $1,000 and $2,000. Any light openings for the door will need to be made of bullet resistant glazing in the form of glass-clad polycarbonate, polycarbonate or bullet resistant acrylic. Any glazing must be within frames made with the same level of ballistic protection as the door and the walls.

All butt-joints of the ArmorCore® panels will need to be backed with 4″-wide batten strips of the same level 3 material. Butt joints should occur between stud centers so that the battens occur within the stud cavities.

The ArmorCore® panels will be covered with ½” Type-X drywall to insure the ASTM E119-98 One-Hour Fire-Rated wall assembly. Self-tapping drywall screws can be used to fasten the drywall to the bullet resistant fiberglass panels (see photo on right).

Several companies that specialize in safe rooms are reporting an increase in demand, especially since Sept. 11. Violence reported in the media can certainly increase the demand for safe rooms.

There are no typical safe rooms. The level of security, size and location within the home are subject to the client’s needs and budget. Safe rooms are also being considered for hospitals, libraries, schools, and are frequently located in certain federal facilities. As concern for homeland security grows, design and construction professionals will need to focus more and more on security related materials and products in an effort to keep pace with the times.

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Posted by on September 24, 2007 in DIY, Polycarbonate


Bulletproof Bed Made With Polycarbonate


Creepy bed doubles a safe room

Do you fear the outside world so much that you wish you could crawl back into your mommy’s womb. If yes, then the Quantum Sleeper is for you. This bed folds up into a fire-resistant coffin-like box to keep bad people and bad things away.

quantumbedThe bullet proof polycarbonate barrier is designed to stop bullet penetration, blows from impact, forced entry and provide a sealed temporary safe room and environment from burglars, terrorist or harmful gasses and also provide protection from the destructive forces of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. The unit can also be fitted with defensive devices customized to the requests of the purchasers such as tear gas spray, robotic arms, or projectile weaponry. It is designed to enable the person(s) inside the unit to see out and prevent those outside from seeing in.

It also comes with a stereo system, so you can listen to music while a demented axe murderer attempts to chop through the polycarbonate barrier. Link (Thanks, John!)

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Posted by on September 24, 2007 in Polycarbonate


Polycarb Lighting Up Barcelona’s New Stadium


Foster to give Nou Camp Gaudí-inspired facelift

Paul Hamilos in Madrid
Monday September 24, 2007
The Guardian

A model of Barcelona's new Nou Camp stadium, designed by English architect Norman Foster
A model of Barcelona’s new Nou Camp stadium, designed by the English architect Norman Foster. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

It is the biggest stadium in Europe and has been graced by the likes of Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho. Now, Barcelona’s distinctive Nou Camp stadium is to get a new look with a redesign by the award-winning British architect Norman Foster.Lord Foster has been chosen by the Catalan club to redesign the 98,000-seater stadium at a cost of €250m (£175m).

The stadium, which celebrates its 50th birthday today, will be given a complete facelift, with a mosaic of multi-coloured tiles in blue and scarlet, the colours of the football team, and red and yellow, those of Catalonia’s flag, encasing it. Presenting his plans to add a “second skin” to the stadium’s outer shell, Lord Foster, 72, said he had been inspired by the trencadis, a mosaic style consisting of broken tiles made famous at the turn of the century by Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s favourite son, whose highly individual work can be seen across the city.

In a presentation in front of stars from the club’s past and present – including the 1957 team, the first to play in the existing stadium – Lord Foster said his intention was to maintain its original asymmetrical shape, designed by the Catalan Francesc Mitjans i Miró. The redesign will increase the Nou Camp’s capacity to 106,000. It will also be given a retractable roof, supported by cables, which Lord Foster described as a “flexible, sustainable and ecological solution”. The exterior, made of a mixture of polycarbonate and glass panels, will be able to change colour, allowing the outside of the stadium to be used for light displays at night or as a giant TV screen.

Construction work will begin in 2009 and is due to be completed by the start of the 2011-2012 season.

Lord Foster has left his mark in London and across the world with numerous high-profile projects, including the Millennium Bridge, the Greater London Authority headquarters, the Swiss Re building known as the Gherkin, Berlin’s Reichstag and the Hearst building in New York. He also designed the new Wembley stadium which – through no fault of his — ended up four years late and nearly £500m over budget. The Nou Camp redesign will not be the first landmark addition that Lord Foster has made to Barcelona’s skyline. His 288-metre-tall Collserola tower already looms large over the city, and was greeted with equal amounts of delight and opprobrium when it was built for the 1992 Olympics.

Perhaps the most important element of the new-look Nou Camp is one that is guaranteed to keep football fans happy: the work will not affect any matches.

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Posted by on September 24, 2007 in Polycarbonate