A worker at Kreysler & Associates shop, in the San Francisco Bay Area, finishes a Fireshield 285 panel, which will be installed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

A worker at Kreysler & Associate’s shop, in the San Francisco Bay Area, finishes a Fireshield 285 panel, which will be installed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Credit: Justin Fantl

Digital fabrication has made bespoke finishes a more attainable—and affordable—reality for architects and their clients. Entering the arena of custom cladding options is Fireshield 285, a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) panel system developed by Kreysler & Associates, in American Canyon, Calif. As its name suggests, the façade system is fire resistant, passing the rigorous National Fire Protection Association’s 285 standard, which tests a wall assembly’s fire propagation characteristics by burning it for 30 minutes.

Made from a blend of synthetic resins and natural aggregate, Fireshield 285 enables architects to take the geometric, organic, one-off, or repetitive surfaces that they’ve lovingly 3D modeled into a producible building component. Kreysler can also manufacture the panels to butt together and create seamless contours and patterns.

Wanda Lau caught up with Bill Kreysler, president of Kreysler & Associates, at this year's AIA Convention in Chicago:


The panels will make their public debut at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art expansion, which is anticipated to open in early 2016. Designed by New York– and Oslo, Norway–based Snøhetta in collaboration with San Francisco’s EHDD, the 235,000-square-foot project will feature a 10-story wall of white Fireshield 285 panels curved to emulate the ripples of the San Francisco Bay.

With a ³/16-inch-thick skin, the 700 panels average 5 pounds per square foot and come as large as 5 feet 6 inches by 30 feet. A panel of that magnitude clocks in at 825 pounds, which is still light enough to fasten to a unitized wall system without an intermediate support frame, saving tons of steel.

The planned addition to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The planned addition to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Credit: MIR / Snøhetta


Inside Kreysler & Associates' workshop, the Fireshield 285 panels are formed in plywood molds.

Inside Kreysler & Associates' workshop, the Fireshield 285 panels are formed in plywood molds.

Credit: Justin Fantl


A 5-axis CNC router helps create the panels' profile.

A 5-axis CNC router helps create the panels' profile.

Credit: Justin Fantl


Fireshield 285 panel for SFMoMA

Fireshield 285 panel for SFMoMA

Credit: Justin Fantl


Fireshield 285 panel for SFMoMA

Fireshield 285 panel for SFMoMA

Credit: Justin Fantl


Panel sizes top out at 5 feet 6 inches by 30 feet.

Panel sizes top out at 5 feet 6 inches by 30 feet.

Credit: Justin Fantl


  • The panel curves are designed to emulate the ripples of the San Francisco Bay.

    Credit: Justin Fantl

    The panel curves are designed to emulate the ripples of the San Francisco Bay.