NATHAN AND FANNYE SHAFRAN PLANETARIUM, CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

The Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium in Cleveland, Ohio was designed by architectural engineering firm Westlake Reed Leskosky. Zahner covered the planetarium cone in a custom rose-colored titanium/stainless steel skin, the first outdoor use of the material in North America. Embedded within each panel, fiber-optic lights reference and reinforce the structure's star-focused purpose. 

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Ti-Stainless™

*Although we do not offer supply only sheets for Ti-Stainless steel, we are happy to custom fabricate based upon your project’s needs. We selectively partner with vendors offering the highest quality materials available in many sizes and thicknesses. Please call for details.Ti-Stainless is a stainless steel sheet metal with with titanium alloy in its coating. There are several methods to achieve color on stainless steel. From the chemical bath process of Interference Stainless Steel to electroplating with tinting agents. Ti-Stainless is one of the most effective methods to achieve a unique tone or color on stainless is through titanium and other alloys applied to the surface of the stainless steel.In its raw sheet form, titanium is an expensive and difficult material to machine and fabricate. It has low ductility. This means that it doesn't want to bend, and that it will typically revert to its form. This is why the titanium-nickel alloy is used as a "memory-metal" for products like eyeglasses. On the other hand, this also means that titanium will take more time to machine when in sheet form.This is where Ti-Stainless has distinct advantages over other raw titanium sheet. Ti-Stainless, also known as titanium-coated stainless steel or generally as PVD stainless steel, is an more economical solution to those desiring a custom color with the longevity of titanium and stainless steel. Titanium-coated stainless steel can come in heavy gauge sheets because it is a thin layer of titanium chemically bonded with a thicker layer of stainless steel. Stainless steel coated with titanium may increase its scratch and corrosion resistance, making its durability superior to many other metal options. This durable titanium-coating makes it a high-quality option for colored metal systems.

Shafran Planetarium at dusk.
Shafran Planetarium at dusk.

Designing a uniquely functional exterior facade system

In addition to the functional aspects of housing the planetarium, the architects used the building's design to create an ingenious educational opportunity. The building's chamfered roof is pitched to 41.5 degrees, in direct alignment for visitors to follow the building lines into the sky to locate Polaris, the North Star.

The planetarium officially opened in 2002, and in doing so, set the bar for planetariums worldwide by blending advanced technology with real-world experiences.

Interior of the Shafran Planetarium
Interior of the Shafran Planetarium
The cone is visible from within the planetarium's interior
The cone is visible from within the planetarium's interior
Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium during the day
Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium during the day
The interior titanium surface reflects less light
The interior titanium surface reflects less light
Small lights dot the exterior surface
Small lights dot the exterior surface
Viewers can align themselves with the roof from this angle and locate the North Star
Viewers can align themselves with the roof from this angle and locate the North Star
Aerial view of the Shafran Planetarium
Aerial view of the Shafran Planetarium