Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

Ceiling Provides Aesthetics and Acoustics

Ceiling Provides Aesthetics and Acoustics

Aesthetics and acoustics were critical elements in the design of the new 16-story multi-use residence hall at the Berklee College of Music. Armstrong Ceilings was able to provide both.

As part of its new 16-story, multi-use residence hall in the heart of Boston, the Berklee College of Music desired a space that would serve as a dining area during the day and a performance venue at night. Because of this dual function, both aesthetics and acoustics were key considerations in its design.

To meet the challenge, the design team at William Rawn Associates created the “Caf,” a two-story, 400-seat space featuring a 32-foothigh ceiling, a gracefully curved second floor balcony, and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking busy Massachusetts Avenue.

To complement the urban setting, the design team wanted to impart a dynamic quality to the space. One way it accomplished that was the use of MetalWorks Torsion Spring panels from Armstrong Ceiling Solutions in a custom red color in the ceiling and MetalWorks WH100 panels on the wall. Red was chosen because it is the school color and both eye-catching and highly visible from the street.

The ceiling panels are installed in a series of clouds that mirror the contour of the balcony’s “ribbon wall,” which features sweeping curves in order to redirect sound. All of the panels in the ceiling and wall are perforated and backed with a fiberglass infill for acoustic control.

The wall panels are also custom-sized because of the curvilinear nature of the wall’s design. The panels are all the same height but have different widths depending on the radius and arc length.

“To create the space we desired, we knew we would be heavily reliant on the ceiling and wall surfaces, both in terms of aesthetics and acoustics,” states designer Brian Putnam. “It’s amazing how much of a signature element they have become.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .