Stantec Architects’ sunburst ceiling shines new light on aging food court
Dynamic ceiling, comprised of 234 uniquely shaped custom wood panels from AIA partner Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions, solved facility’s aesthetic and acoustic challenges.
The food court at Gulf Canada Square was beginning to show its age, and its food service tenants were concerned that they might be losing business to other venues in Calgary’s busy downtown business district.
Deciding it was time for an update, building owners commissioned Stantec Architects of Calgary to create a plan for refreshing the space without changing the existing seating configuration.
Working with the curvilinear shape of the room, the design team replaced the existing drywall ceiling with a dynamic wood ceiling that radiates out in a sunburst design above the food court. “The space lent itself to an oval shape,” says Craig Ainsworth, principal at Stantec and project architect, “so we just played off that shape to develop this large, oval-shaped ceiling with lines radiating out from the center.”
The design team was also tasked with finding a solution that was not only visually exciting but would allow access to the mechanical components in the plenum. “Each of the wood panels is easily removable to service the equipment,” Ainsworth adds.
Custom shapes and sizes
The 3,400-square-foot ceiling is comprised of 234 uniquely shaped custom WoodWorks Access panels from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions that when installed create the oval-shaped design. “The panels get gradually smaller as they approach the center,” explains Ainsworth. “No panel was the same size or shape. It was very complex.”
The panels also feature a dark cherry finish with a grain pattern that is customized on each individual panel to flow outward from the center of the oval.
With a consistent 6-inch reveal between each panel, the design team was able to take advantage of the acoustical properties of the new ceiling. “Because the sound could now go up into the ceiling plenum space above, we were able to take advantage of the acoustic treatment on the back of the panels,” Ainsworth says.
Building a spider web
The installation required great attention to detail. “We had a different shop drawing for each panel,” says Dan McMahon, operations manager for Midwest Group, the Calgary contractor that installed the ceiling. “We worked our way from the inside out so we would know which panel went where. It was almost like building a spider web. It took a bit of tweaking to make the ceiling look like it was flowing, but basically it all came down to proper layout at the beginning.”
The grid was painted black to obscure the mechanical components in the ceiling. “Everything else behind the ceiling disappears,” says Ainsworth, “so that the panels became the predominant plane of the ceiling.”
Four-inch curved wood trim attached to the edge of the panels on the perimeter of the ceiling provides a finished look.
The design team had initially considered using custom millwork, but found the WoodWorks Access panels to be a simpler solution because of their lighter weight and acoustic properties, Ainsworth says. “Millwork would have been more expensive, much heavier, and much more difficult to specify. The WoodWorks Access system actually simplified the challenge of providing a simplified solution.”
AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.
Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions