Triangular-shaped panels create visual of geodesic dome
The renovation of the elevator lobby inside 1010 Sherbrooke West, one of downtown Montreal’s landmark office buildings, was long overdue. The dimly lit lobby had a cavernous feel and included outdated features such as the half-barrel shaped ceiling that dominated the 65-m2 (700-sf) space.
“Our goal was to add pattern and shape to the ceiling with the necessary lighting for it to become a beautiful focal point,” says Andre Dimitrovas, senior interior designer at Groupe Marchande Architecture Design (GMAD) of Montreal.
The vision GMAD had for the ceiling was that of a 3D, geodesic dome with different sized triangular-shaped panels arranged asymmetrically at various angles throughout the ceiling.
“We wanted some of the panels to be wood slats and some of them to be flat and white,” says Dimitrovas.
To help make the ceiling concept a reality, GMAD turned to the You Inspire™ Solutions Center at Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions to create a model that would enable the ceiling to be built. The Solutions Center is a consultative design service that provides project management for ceiling systems from concept to completion.
“They came to us with this design featuring triangles that undulated and created a beautiful cove in the lobby,” says You Inspire design engineer Michael Tongel.
While the original concept called for each panel to be unique in size and shape, the You Inspire Solutions Center developed a 3D model that achieved the design intent using a combination of standard and custom panels from the Armstrong family of Woodworks® ceiling systems.
72 Triangular Ceiling Panels Installed
Seventy-two triangular-shaped panels, which include an array of wood grille and white solid wood panels, were attached at varying angles to a custom layout of an Armstrong Drywall Grid System using angle brackets to create the different angles in the grid.
“The grid pattern was the key to everything,” says Tongel. “The layout of the grid dictates the angles of the panels, and the angles of the panels create the undulating visual in the ceiling.”
Using a standard drywall grid system, Tongel created the unique shape needed to support the panels at various angles.
“I’ve never seen a drywall grid system used in a shape like this before, but it just seemed to make sense,” he says. “It gives you a wider flange at the bottom and it’s able to support more weight.”
Included in the grid pattern are spaces for the linear lighting that sits in the 51-mm (2-in) reveal between the panels and a space for the light cove that surrounds the perimeter of the pillow-shaped ceiling where it meets the gypsum bulkhead.
Fewer Custom Panels Required
By making the 3.6- x 9-m (12- x 30-ft) ceiling more symmetrical and finding ways to repeat panel patterns wherever possible, the You Inspire design team effectively recreated the same high-impact visual with fewer custom panels, reducing the cost and making the ceiling easier to manufacture and install.
“Even with all the acute angles, we were able to create the same dynamic shape with 12-to-15 different panel sizes,” says Dimitrovas. “We didn’t want to venture into something that was totally customized, so having the Armstrong engineers on board gave us the confidence we could build the ceiling and do it in a budget-friendly way.”
Through GMAD’s partnership with Armstrong, the ceiling became the beautiful focal point the design team envisioned.
“With the emphasis on the high ceilings, the inclusion of circadian lighting, and a customized geodesic Armstrong ceiling, these key elements became integral focal points of the project, serving to enhance the experience in one of Montreal’s landmark buildings,” says Dimitrovas.
Full Scale Mockup Created
To assist with installation, Armstrong created a full-scale mockup of a small section of the ceiling and held a series of virtual meetings with the general contractor and ceiling installer to demonstrate how it would work.
“This was the first time a ceiling has been built in that shape and form,” says Danny Rinaldi, senior project manager for Planit Construction, the general contractor. “The mockup was very helpful, but we still had to do some tweaking onsite.”
After building the custom grid layout and suspending it from the structure, the installers began attaching the panels.
“It was a challenge,” says Rinaldi. “We had multiple angles happening at once and were trying to come at it with straight panels.”
When working close together from an aerial lift platform, the installers were required to wear masks and helmets with full face shields in addition to harnesses to comply with the safety protocols in place during the pandemic.
“It added to the stress of the project and how we were going to do things as we assembled the ceiling,” says Rinaldi. “So, we had to adjust our methods to make sure everyone was working in a safe manner.”
Note: 1010 Sherbrooke West is owned and operated by Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust.
All information listed in this section was submitted by Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions.
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