The new 25,000 square foot administration building at Lyric Opera of Kansas City was designed to house the regional opera company’s administrative offices and provide storage space for its stage sets.
The signature space within the concrete block and steel building is a glass-enclosed, two-story lobby with a staircase leading to an open reception area on the second floor.
While designing the space, lead architect Richard Hu wanted to include a material that would add warmth to the lobby and reception area. “The building has a very industrial aesthetic,” explained Hu. “Everything is kind of exposed. We needed a warm material to offset all those cold, hard surfaces.”
The design team also needed to include something that would control acoustics. “The first floor lobby area is all concrete and glass,” said Hu, “so it can get pretty noisy in there.”
To accomplish this, the design team installed acoustical clouds made from Armstrong WoodWorks Concealed ceiling panels above the two-story lobby and reception area.
Five acoustical clouds consisting of dark cherry wood veneer ceiling panels were suspended in a sloped, ribbon-like pattern above the space. Four 40-1/2' x 4' clouds and one 13-1/2' x 4' cloud are included in the design. Each cloud consists of a single row of standard 2' x 4' panels with coordinated 6" trim and narrow 1/4" reveal between each panel. Custom splice plates and grid clips were used to create 30-degree angles in the clouds. The ceiling clouds were suspended from a heavy-duty galvanized steel suspension system.
While adding warmth, the wood veneer panels also improved acoustics in the noisy lobby and reception areas. The panels are perforated in an oval, straight-slotted pattern and backed with a fiberglass infill for acoustical control.
The design team was pleased with the result, noting that the ceiling design complemented other linear elements in the building. “We were trying to do something dynamic that drove people directionally to the upper lobby,” says Hu. “The ceiling design provides very subtle wayfinding, but also a nice, rich look – almost like a tapestry.”