Dallas Architecture Organizations Merge Into New Space

The American Institute of Architects (AIA Dallas) and the Architecture and Design Foundation (formerly DCFA) have recently focused on serving as a resource for those interested in architecture and design in the Dallas area. They recently merged into a new space to form AD EX, the Architecture, and Design Exchange. To create a space that supports their mission – as a hub for conversation and ideas on how architecture and design can improve the city – the organizations decided to move to a central location in an older building downtown in the epicenter of the popular city to pull.

The training room on the first floor uses the Seem 1 Acoustic lighting and impact system.

With the intent to provide a multi-purpose environment that could serve both the public and the local architecture and design community, while showcasing the latest innovative interior design products and materials, AIA contracted Dallas Omniplan to redesign the approximately 26,000 square foot, two square meter building . Story room.

“The client wanted a space that was extremely flexible,” said Connor Peirce, senior associate at Omniplan in Dallas. “It was our job to rethink the layout of the room to make it open and inviting and to allow flexible use.”

AIA DallasThe conference room on the second floor of the AIA Dallas with the acoustic light and the baffle system Seem 1.

It was important for the team to fully understand the intentions of each division, especially given the quick build timeline of less than a year. The first floor is dedicated to public programs, including a Design Learning Lab for hosting school groups, workshops, meetings or other private and public events. The entrance also includes a reception area that houses the Downtown Dallas Inc. neighborhood center.

The second floor is designed for the new headquarters of AIA Dallas, which consists of administrative offices, a members lounge and conference rooms. To understand the requirements, finding manufacturers who could support the lighting product requirements and meet the tight deadlines led to working with Focal Point in Chicago.

Limitations of an existing space

Working within the parameters of the existing space was challenging, especially with constraints that included an unusually shaped layout, large amounts of glass, and low ceilings. With these elements in mind, Omniplan was commissioned to create a space that felt cohesive and could be used as one large room or several smaller areas.

Focal Point’s Seem 1 acoustic lighting and impact system was installed on the first floor of the public training area.

Ultimately, Omniplan decided to use the ceiling level as a vehicle to create continuity for the entire space. To this end, the existing low ceiling was removed, revealing the open ceiling structure. By removing the implacable ceiling tiles, Omniplan was able to satisfy the need for a more open environment. However, this also caused acoustic problems.

“With so much steel and glass, we had to be creative about how we could acoustically isolate these rooms,” said Peirce. “We knew we needed an acoustic solution. The question we had to ask ourselves was how can we do this in such a way that this can be replicated in many different rooms. This would help define the ceiling level and customize the organization for each room, but also ensure continuity, ”said Peirce.

An integrated system solution

To mitigate reverberation problems and meet lighting needs in the classroom and event space on the first floor, Omniplan, with the support of Hossley Lighting Associates, selected Focal Point’s Seem 1 acoustic lighting and deflection system. The system has been relaunched and has been specifically designed to improve human comfort, solve noise problems, while providing the necessary levels of lighting in commercial environments.

AIA DallasThe Seem 1 system in the training room on the first floor.

“With Seem 1 Acoustic we were able to present products that appeared on the market and were relevant to our requirements. It also helped us achieve the cleanliness of a system that answers both the lighting and the acoustics, ”explained Peirce.

Determining the details of the flexible system required close collaboration with Hossley Lighting Associates and Focal Point’s Acoustic Solutions team, who provided design and layout support. In addition, an acoustic analysis of the entire room showed a reverberation time (RT) of 0.85 seconds in the training room and an RT of 1.05 seconds in the event room area. Using this information, it was determined that 40 continuous runs of 12-inch high Seem 1 acoustic lights – with direct lighting and unlit baffles spaced one foot in the middle – would be used across both rooms.

By using Seem 1 Acoustic in both rooms and integrating a movable partition, Omniplan was able to create a uniform space for large events and smaller individual areas for targeted work. “The lights in both rooms created a coherent solution while also creating intimacy, as this is the determining factor for the ceiling plan,” explained Peirce.

According to Peirce, the flexibility of the system was a key factor for Omniplan in selecting the Focal Point lighting and baffle system, which is available in custom lengths and continuous runs with nominal body heights of 8 “, 12” and 16 “. Ultimately, the flexibility of the system contributed to a reduction in the reverberation time in both the event room and the training room by approx. 30%, which represents a noticeable audible reduction in the echo.

The Seem 1 acoustic lighting and deflection system was also chosen for the multi-purpose conference room on the second floor, which is framed on three sides by glass walls. Because of the abundance of hard surfaces, rows of 12-inch-high lighted and unlit Seem 1 Acoustic were installed one foot apart in the center.

Instead of using a standard linear layout, Omniplan created a unique design. The baffles on the left and right of the room have been lowered compared to those in the center of the room to create a coffered ceiling effect. The dynamic design increased the aesthetics, made a statement and at the same time reduced the noise level. In order to achieve optimal acoustic comfort, other acoustic treatments such as wall panels and carpets were also used in the room.

Peirce went on to explain the reasons for choosing an integrated light and baffle system and said: “We worked with unusually shaped spaces and had to fine-tune the lengths. Apparently 1 Acoustic was able to provide this. I don’t think we could have found any other system that could do this this clean. The Seem 1 acoustic lighting and impact system had the linearity we were looking for in terms of the orientation of the room, and it also addressed our acoustic concerns to inform movement throughout the room. “

He also voiced the design team’s concern that the selection of lighting and acoustic options from multiple manufacturers may have made the space feel disjointed.

“Because of the tolerance we required, it was crucial to have a manufacturer. If we didn’t have that, I don’t think it would have worked out well for us. Instead of having an acoustic solution and a lighting solution, it was the marriage of the two that looked just great. And it was comforting to know that everything came from the same place. This is also an advantage of the Seem 1 acoustic system. “

Peirce summarized the project and the use of Seem 1 Acoustic as follows: “This is the way the market moves. It’s a design that people are looking for. It was a breeze for us to go this route, and it has also helped us achieve the level of cleanliness that a system can provide for both lighting and acoustic requirements. “

Despite the unique limitations in remodeling this irregular space, Omniplan was able to successfully provide a functional, versatile environment using the latest innovative products and materials. It offers the local architecture and design community a central location for meetings and collaboration sessions, as well as a hub from which to draw inspiration for future projects.

Peirce said that it also has an impact in terms of its aesthetic quality, and that the customer and users have expressed their appreciation for the conference room and lecture rooms. As a member of several AEI committees, he also has the privilege of experiencing the space firsthand and receiving feedback from other specifiers who use the space.

During his visits to AD EX, Peirce received inquiries from members of the architecture and design community about the Seem 1 Acoustic System. AIA St. Louis has also decided to install the Seem 1 acoustic lighting and impact system in its new office, which is expected to be completed this year.

As director of communications and government relations at AIA Dallas, Katie Hitt regularly uses the conference room on the second floor. She commented on the completed room as follows: “The baffles in the meeting room have received several praise. I’ve worked with several design-focused committees and the baffles seem to be a popular feature of the room. “

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