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Restoration of the Academy of Music Cupola

The historic Academy of Music building in Philadelphia opened in 1857 and is the oldest operating opera house in the United States. Known as the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street”, the famous hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and placed on the Historic Register in 1963.

Because of the age and significance of this historic structure, restoration projects are abundant and ongoing to address crucial upgrades to the building’s systems. Several exterior components, including the paint on the terne-metal-clad cupola, the cupola’s finial, and the cladding, needed protection.
Peeling paint, corrosion, and general deterioration of the cupola was extensive.

Scott Bennung, President of Acrymax, a company located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, stated, “Being from the Philadelphia area, I have had the good fortune of attending events at the Academy of Music. In addition to the great performances, I have also enjoyed the history of the venue and the architecture that makes the building special. We are proud that our architectural coatings were specified to help preserve this historic icon.”

Each year, Acrymax enjoys giving back to the community in some way, and last year we chose to donate to the Academy of Music to help them get through these challenging times. Acrymax proudly stepped up and provided our innovative technologies that would protect the building’s historic fabric. This included our state of the art field applied coating based on Kynar Aquatec® PVDF resin—the AF-4400 Fluoropolymer Coating. Fluoropolymer coatings provide exceptional performance properties.
The cupola was completely stripped, primed with with Acrymax’s PC-125 & PC-535 primers and finished off with a top coat of Kynar Aquatec® PVDF based, AF-4400. With the Acrymax coatings applied in custom colors the cupola is ready to face the elements and will be protected for decades to come.

Eric Bennung, Vice President and Product Engineer, added, “As a local company, it was very satisfying to be involved with this project. Every project has its unique aspects, and we worked closely with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) providing them with the information they needed to specify a robust coating system based on Acrylic and Fluoropolymer technologies. We are confident the system specified will provide the performance that is demanded for decades to come.”

After project completion, Jeff Levine, The Academy of Music’s building consultant, shared this final sentiment, “Throughout the entire specification process and application, Acrymax’s technical representative provided outstanding guidance and support. We could not be happier with their high-performance solutions that offer outstanding weatherability and durability when preserving this remarkable building.”