Pierce College Performing Arts Center — Woodland Hills, CA
White Maple with Clear Finish
Walk into the lobby at the new Pierce College Theater and your eyes are drawn to the one-of-a-kind contoured wood ceiling. The curved white maple linear box beams create the feel of walking underneath hollowed-out hills. Such a ceiling was only made possible through the modeling, management, and execution of a design that had a “complexity per SF” rivaling anything previously attempted by 9Wood. It stands out as something special; part art installation, part wood ceiling at the highest technical level.
To plot out the complexity, 9Wood turned to 3D modeling. This model became the information hub and driver for multiple elements. First, it allowed HVAC “collision detection” so the factory-curved Linear box beams would not interfere with other fixtures. Second, the 3-D models provided dimensions for the fabrication of 372 unique pieces stitched together to create 144 placement-specific 20’ undulations. Third, the model drove the installation guide. And finally, the model guided the fabrication of the pre-curved t-bar, provided by a different manufacturer. “The 3-D model was the whole package for every aspect of the ceiling,” commented PM Brad Leonard. 9Wood’s drafting team put in 350 hours, ten times the amount required for a normal set of shop and fabrication drawings.
Production of each of the 372 beams was an exercise in technical woodworking, with a heavy dose of production floor administration and management. Three unique elements made up each beam: the White Maple veneered “face” planks, and two CNC’ed shaping ribs to set the radii of each beam. A fourth custom element was the pre-curved t-bar, which was field-inserted between the shaping ribs. Including overage and attic stock, over 1,100 individual pieces were labeled and tracked during fabrication to create the final box beam units.
Another detail that added fabrication and installation complexity was that all perimeter ends were required to be cut 90° perpendicular to the floor. To assure accuracy during install, each beam was numbered and indexed. The total install took over 800 man hours for a 1,623 SF ceiling. “9Wood did an outstanding job creating grid and coordination drawings, based on the elevations we provided. It’s a one-of-a-kind installation,” recalled Matt Paul of Elljay Acoustics.
PM Brad Leonard summarized the project this way: “In 9Wood’s history, we’ve done many curved wood projects, but this was like 372 curved wood projects in one!” The process pushed the boundaries for coordination, fabrication, and installation and left a stunning visual statement.
Steinberg Architects, Los Angeles, California
Elljay Acoustics, Placentia, California
Cross Sections of Complexity
Over 350 hours of drafting time were required to integrate all details, including field-dimension revisions, into a 3D model. Over 800 man hours of install time were required on the 1,623 SF ceiling.Download Case Study