The main conference room in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Logistics & Reconditioning Center in Grandview, Missouri, creates a lasting impression with ‘lightning bolts’ in the ceiling.
Housed in a 22,111-m2 (238,000-sf) building, the conference room is used to host everything from briefings and training sessions to tour groups and national meetings. As a result, the design team at Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri, felt it was important to create a space that would not only embody the center’s mission, but also provide the staff with a space they could be proud of.
“We wanted to create a space that would leave a lasting impression of the facility,” said Rhonda Hulkill, senior interior designer, “and the best opportunity for making an impression is the ceiling.”
Working in collaboration with the ceiling manufacturer’s consultative design service, the design team achieved its goal by creating a ceiling featuring custom 0.6 x 1 m (2 x 4 ft) metal ceiling panels installed diagonally across the room in a herringbone type of pattern. The result is a visual reminiscent of lightning bolts coming down from the sky.
A 152-mm (6-in.) gap separates each of the lightning bolts, while soft blue fluorescent lighting behind the panels represents the sky and adds more interest to the ceiling visual.
All of the metal panels are perforated and backed with an acoustical fleece to provide sound absorption in the room.
“Considering the multiple uses of the space, acoustical performance was a key consideration,” Hulkill states.
According to associate architect, Vicky Borchers, the metal ceiling panels were chosen because of their durability and reflectivity.
“We wanted a certain amount of reflectance to extend the blue light into the room and give the space more life,” Borchers said. “This effect would not have been possible with standard acoustical ceiling tile. Since the panels are floating, we also wanted sharp, crisp edges since they are visible.”
Borchers reports the conference room has become the facility’s signature space.
“It is definitely the space everybody remembers and also the first place the staff takes everyone,” he said.