Winner: 2012 Construction Excellence Awards: Gold (Interior Finishes, West Region)

An Innovative Angle on Wood

Complex dimensioning, angles and heights come together with precision.

Enter the five-story atrium of the university's newest science and technology building, look up, and wonder. How did these angular, integrated walls and ceilings come to be?

"The way we wrapped the wood from the horizontal to the vertical is innovative," says Mathew Chaney, AIA, associate at Ehrlich Architects." 9Wood created ceilings and cladding with a high degree of accuracy — very close to our design intent. I'd say, 98 percent close."

Linear wood panel awnings are suspended over the elevator doors. They angle upward, steeply, and become vertical cladding for upper floor balcony rails.

Highlights

100' installs. The overhead angled ceiling is 30' from bottom to top — the top being at 100'. To install it, crews built platforms on top of the main scaffold."The system was built on a slope," says Claude Amerson, president and CEO,TP Acoustics."We had a scaffold 70' off the ground and scaffold on scaffold progressively upward."

Lots of scaffold. The subcontractor used platform scaffold and a cantilever scaffold. "We were not allowed on certain floors, so lifts were out of the question. Instead, we had to cantilever off each floor to encapsulate the balconies," says Amerson."Those balconies were 20' to 70' in the air."

Angles. "The challenge was to understand your corners and have panels come together and look uniform," says TP Acoustics field superintendent Derrick Amerson."It required critical shop drawings with critical dimensioning by 9Wood. The drawings were well executed." The drafting team constructed detailed and coordinated shop drawings 40 pages in length.

Hand staging. The wood panels — all a nominal 1' in width — were shipped in crates too large and too heavy to move about the job site, so panels were unpacked and moved by hand. A crane lifted some panels to the roof, which workers hand-lowered through a window onto scaffold. Lifts raised a few panels, but crews had to carry them to staging areas. "We just did what we had to do," TP Acoustics president Amerson says.

In addition, an auditorium featuring wood grilles, trim and wall panels, was carefully measured and field-cut to integrate with the sound system.

Mathew Chaney, AIA, associate at Ehrlich Architects specified Western Hemlock — stained Teak. 9Wood provided staining canisters so the installer could retouch the Hemlock after making cuts.

"The atrium is designed to draw the eye into a vertical circulation," says Chaney about his design intent."The wood has unusual mass, but the panels are light in character."

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