Acoustic ceilings help NAB’s D.C. HQ meet aesthetics, sustainability goals

Hickok Cole Architects used acoustic ceiling systems to meet the sustainability and aesthetic goals of the National Association of Broadcasters’ headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo © Garett Rowland. Photo courtesy Hickock Cole Architects/Rockfon
Hickok Cole Architects used acoustic ceiling systems to meet the sustainability and aesthetic goals of the National Association of Broadcasters’ headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo © Garett Rowland.
Photo courtesy Hickock Cole Architects/Rockfon

Keeping the public connected and informed, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) upholds the historic values of a free press in the modern, digital age. In 2020, NAB celebrated 100 years of radio and ushered in the next century from its new headquarters at One M in Washington, D.C. The architects used acoustic ceiling systems to meet the projects sustainability and aesthetic goals.

An 11-story, 10,963-m2 (118,000-sf), Class A office building, One M was developed by Monument Realty as a built-to-suit project for NAB in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Serving 150 NAB employees and its membership, Hickok Cole Architects created the interiors for the new headquarters. The project earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Interior Design and Construction Silver certification.

Hickok Cole selected a combination of acoustic ceiling systems to support the building project’s goals, and to achieve the balance of light and sound appreciated by broadcasters.

“The architectural design is inspired by the forms through which the public interacts with broadcast technology through radio and television,” said Hickok Cole. The team worked strategically with its client “to make every corner of the new space a love letter to NAB’s history as well as a tribute to the future.”

The interior design and material choices connect past, present, and future—from dark wood walls and floors to bright white ceilings, from custom artwork and environmental graphics to state-of-the art technology. Hickok Cole’s senior designer, Emily Owsley, LEED AP, told Interior Design, “The design was very much inspired by the mid-century aesthetic, but reinterpreted in modern way.”

Helping realize this contemporary vision, acoustic stone wool and metal ceiling panels  were used in at least five sizes. Three different sizes were utilized in the meeting rooms, including custom, large format 89-x-89 mm (4-x-4 in.) metal ceiling panels at the rooms’ corners. The private offices feature square 0.6-x-0.6 m (2-x-2 ft) tiles and rectangular 0.6-x-1 m (4 ft) panels differentiate the open office areas.

In total, T & A Construction installed more than 6302 m2 (70,000 sf) of ceiling panels using a Chicago metallic acoustical ceiling grid with 14-mm (9/16-in.) steel suspension system. Paired with this grid system, the panels’ square tegular narrow profile creates a 6-mm (1/4-in.) reveal with precisely mitered intersections for a continuous ceiling line. Presenting a professional finishing touch, T & A Construction installed 102-mm (4-in.) aluminum perimeter trim for a neat, clean ceiling edge on each room.

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