Winner: 2011 Construction Excellence Awards: Founder's Award
Winner: 2011 Construction Excellence Awards: Gold (Ceilings, West Region)

Rich Past, Bright Future

Travelers through Sacramento International Airport got a fresh terminal to greet them in 2011. The new space, part of a $1.03 billion renovation, updates the infrastructure of the hard-working airport with some architectural pizazz, accented by specialty ceilings.

This project faced challenges typical of all specialty product installations: last minute design changes, long lead-time materials, tight schedules and a technical installation. But this ceiling also faced certain unique challenges, including meeting tight acoustic requirements, using reclaimed redwood, achieving color consistency, and mating curved ceilings with architectural metal closures. And it all had to be installed fast enough to maintain the removal schedule of the 45-foot scaffold.

Materials were a key design element for the airport's 65-foot high ceilings. A monochromatic pallet was chosen using white maple acoustic planks highlighted with redwood grilles. To achieve the desired color consistency, 9Wood hand-blended veneers for the finished ceiling.

Curved "rabbit red" light fixture housings were fabricated by Adams Campbell and installed over the baggage carrousels. USG supplied Halcyon plank ceiling panels with custom sizes at the linear diffusers. Lindner USA provided 25,000 SF of perforated metal flat and curved ceilings, tops and wall panels, all factory-made to specific job dimensions to meet stringent NRC and design requirements. 9Wood supplied 17,000 square feet of reclaimed redwood grilles and 55,000 square feet of custom acoustic planks – an unusually large scope. To achieve noise reduction goals9Wood customized its patented acoustic plank. A high noise reduction coefficient requirement of .85 meant the development team needed to achieve maximum acoustic absorption while maintaining a minimal percent opening for aesthetics. This was accomplished through the use of special acoustic backing material and several geometric changes to 9Wood's standard system.

The grilles were made from reclaimed redwood. The redwood was sourced from timbers once part of a local bridge built in 1937 that had been damaged by floods in 1997. They had been stored in the area, awaiting a home. Five semi-trucks transported the recovered redwood to 9Wood's fabrication site. Each beam was inspected for best yield, scanned with metal detectors, re-sawn and molded to specification. The client asked 9Wood to collect grading marks branded into the wood to link the airport wood back to its origins. Despite age and weathering, the tight-grained Redwood beams yielded salvageable material with beautiful worn character.

Wood trellises over the ticket counters also used the reclaimed redwood. Designed to suspend between outriggers using 2-inch powder coated steel tubing, each ticket counter trellis needed to install as one unit. Custom engineering was required in order to meet proper tolerances for attachments: the assembly needed to prevent cracking in the weathered redwood. The assembly also needed to be constructed (such that/in such a way) that the members could slip over the pipe yet be kept from sliding like an abacus. The 6-foot by 7-foot trellis units were heavy, bulky and entirely pre-finished. Spacetone Acoustics coordinated a flawless installation.

Visitors looking up at these specialty ceilings will find a remarkable expression of design, engineering and installation craftsmanship.

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