Frank Gehry’s design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Waves of Steel

What helps creative architects like Frank Gehry turn heavy metal into such light, free-flowing forms? An adhesive from 3M that makes innovative architecture possible.

steel held together with 3M adhesive tape
“98% [of buildings] are boxes.[...] We accept it as inevitable. [When] somebody does something different, real architecture, the push-back is amazing. People resist it. At first it’s new and scary.”

- Frank Gehry

Source: Frank Gehry’s interview with David Sheff, Playboy, Dec. 16, 2010.

Frank Gehry’s design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Opening the Box

Frank Gehry’s design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles beautifully deconstructs basic forms: walls curve, towers rise above foundations that seem too small, and shining steel scales reflect and transform the surrounding space. Such an out-of-the-box vision required special materials and techniques to construct.

researchers working on adheisves

3M Engineers Conduct a Static Shear Test

The Challenge

The outside walls are covered in 6,100 stainless steel panels, no two the same shape or size. Permasteelisa, the construction team, needed a way to invisibly fasten each 145 lb. piece of steel. No rivets. No welds.

original 1988 video debut of 3M's innovation in adhesives

The Solution

Strong & Beautiful

The answer was 3M™ VHB™ Tape—an acrylic foam adhesive so strong, it can hold locomotives together. And you’ll never know it’s there.

View the original 1988 demo
3M VHB adhesive tape used in Frank Gehry's projects
image displaying no rivets are need to hold steel together, just 3M adhesive tape

How it Works

The tape bonds the curtain wall panels to aluminum metal clips positioned on either side of the horizontal and vertical seams between the panels. It makes a smoother finish. Plus, it’s stronger and longer-lasting than rivets and spot welds, which also weaken the material they fasten.

Core 3M Technology