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Acoustical Wall Panel Systems

William L. Shannon, Editor

William L. Shannon, Editor of CISCA

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall

2000 Winner Metal Acoustical Wall & Ceiling Category, CISCA Award of Excellence

This years CISCA Award of Excellence in the Metal Ceiling & Wall Category was awarded to CISCA Manufacturer Member, Baker Metal Products, Dallas, Texas and CISCA Independent Manufacturers' Representative Member, Sound Sales Company, Des Plaines, Illinois. The project was large, complicated and challenging for all concerned.

The overall project was a ninety million-dollar addition and renovation to a building built almost a century ago! This entailed not only working within a structure built long before laser alignment and other modern building technologies, but in a structure that continued, during construction, as the venue for The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The architect for this aggressive and complicated project was The Chicago Office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Architects, Nancy Carreon Project Architect. Acoustical analysis and design was provided by nationally recognized, Kirkegaard & Associates, Dawn Schuette, project manager.

The General Contractor, was The Chicago Office of Turner Construction Company, Timothy O'Connor, project manager, and the installing contractor MTH Industries, Lou Nutini, project manager.

Interestingly, Kirkegaard & Associates had worked with Baker Metal on several other prominent projects nationally. They recommended a perforated metal ceiling and wall panel system as the potential answer to the unusual acoustical requirements.

Skidmore contacted Jeff Limp, President of Sound Sales, early in the design phase to discuss possible product and system solutions. At the first meeting it became apparent to Jeff that Baker Metal had the experience and capabilities to tackle the project. Jeff immediately contacted Bob Baker, President of Baker Metal Products, and a joint meeting was set up between the architect, acoustical consultant, construction manager, installing sub contractor Bob Baker and Jeff Limp.

The initial meeting was somewhat unusual for the clients had a very definite concept of the approach to be utilized, but there were several surprises in store for the team.

The first significant surprise was uncovered during the initial survey of the existing building. It was discovered that one side of the building had actually settled more than 5' in the prior 100 years. Combining that with the already tricky geometry of the existing building and add to that the difficulty of attachment to a very brittle existing substrate, you can imagine the challenge.

Early in the project development the Sound Sales Baker Team went to work, with no guarantee of securing the actual contract. Anne Marie Kemper was designated the project manager at Baker's Dallas Texas Facility. Dale Fenn was designated the project engineering manager at Baker's Cincinnati Engineering Office and Darrin Bledsoe the project coordinator at the Baker Dallas Headquarters.

Many materials were considered, including different metal types and finishes. Varying perforation patterns were discussed, and reviewed in conjunction with the acoustical requirements. Samples were submitted and reviewed and details discussed with the early entry of AutoCAD drawings and details.

After weeks of discussion and review it was decided that the ceiling and wall panels would be manufactured utilizing .063 aluminum sheet, with a 42% open area, 1/8" staggered holes and a Fluropon T-3202 high performance finish.

All ceiling panels and hangers required gasketing to avoid metal to metal vibration. To make the manufacturing even more interesting, the panels had to provide long unsupported spans, with a compound radius, without noticeable "oilcanning". The wall panels and domed stage shell were integrated with a plaster "rope" detail.

With the design complete, the project was released for competitive bidding. After all bids were received and evaluated, MTH Industries was awarded the installation contract and Baker Metal Products was awarded the purchase order for design and manufacturing of the material.

Final engineering commenced immediately. After completion of the submittal process and with all approvals secured the fabrication and manufacturing was ready to begin. As with the other project requirements, the schedule was complicated.

The project was to be completed in three phases over two summers. There was no room for error. To install the material and collateral work; the entire auditorium was pipe scaffolded, twice! The orchestra schedule was fixed therefor, the material delivery and installation had to be precise.

The teamwork paid off. Material was approved, manufactured and delivered on time. The scaffolding in place when required. The contractor, subcontractor, manufacturer and Independent Manufacturers' Representative worked as a team to assure a successful project.

The end result was an award-winning project. The client is very happy with their new space and the public thrilled with their renovated and enlarged facility.

This project is another significant example of CISCA Members working with CISCA Members. The level of professionalism, the utilization of proven CISCA Performance Criteria and the spirit of cooperation are to be admired.

William L. Shannon CSI, CISCA
President of Shannon Corporation
Recipient of the 2004 De Gelleke Award

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Site last updated September 22, 2017