Winner: 2013 Construction Excellence Awards: Gold (Ceilings, West Region)

UCLA Sproul Complex

Advanced Coordination Performs in the Field

When presented with a highly detailed, articulating ceiling geometry for the new LEED Gold Sproul Complex at UCLA, 9Wood's in-house drafting department considered it a worthy challenge. With over 13,000 square feet of custom-stained FSC-certified Western Hemlock grilles intersecting at several different angles, advanced coordination was the key to providing the South Coast Acoustical Interiors with an engineered-to-order solution.

9Wood's Project Manager Brad Leonard recalled that the lead drafter created a custom, 3D wireframe model of the ceiling space to review intersections and suspension challenges. This design went through several iterations as the building evolved and updates became available.

Not only was the ceiling complex by design, it needed to remain accessible throughout the entire space. A torsion spring system was integrated into the Hemlock grille panels to ensure a stable installation while allowing maintenance access to the plenum. 9Wood had never combined a torsion spring system with a grille panel. The main implication for the installer was the large and heavy panels. This was due to the 2' width requirement for panels to span the main runners. And with 3-1/2" deep, 2" on-center Hemlock members, each 2 x 10 foot panel weighed over 80 pounds. This made installation extremely difficult from a handling and scissor-lift perspective. Extreme precision and care was essential as to not torque the individual members out of square while handling. Abutting joints in the middle of the runs were especially challenging due to the minimal half-inch reveal. Strength had to be balanced with finesse.

The architect, Pfeiffer Partners, had opted for a staggered panel layout instead of standard bays of wood panels. This design required several onsite meetings with South Coast Acoustical Interiors to ensure that everyone was on the same page regarding the layout for each of the ceiling planes. All fifteen sections comprising the sloped ceiling area were unique, requiring extensive field-cutting by the contractor. A black break-formed metal trim was attached at the perimeter joints to give clean delineation and punctuate the oblique angles.

There were also areas where the wood was to be tightly integrated with an adjoining metal ceiling. In order to accentuate this combination, 9Wood provided a custom panel fabrication for the transition. For an 11' panel with six wood members, only three of them span the full length. The other three stop five feet from the end of the panel, creating an intersection between two ceilings that appears to phase them together. Rather than having a harsh divide between man-made and natural materials, the longer wood members float underneath the beginning of the metal ceiling. The result is a more organic transition between the two areas, one that accentuates the design of both products.

The Spoul Complex represents the challenges and benefits of complex architectural design, as well as the custom manufacturing solutions required to implement them.9Wood's focus on providing quality products that perform well on the jobsite really shines through as you walk through the space. "The Spoul complex was an intricately designed project that would not have been successful without the support and customer service of 9Wood. The project challenged us to achieve new levels of coordination and completely transformed the method in which we complete specialty work," says South Coast Acoustical.

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