Case Studies

The Guthrie Theater, Downtown Minneapolis, MN

Architectural Firm: Durrant Group Inc., Dubuque, IA
Acoustical Consultant: The Talaske Group, Oak Park, IL
Certified Installer: Olympic Wall Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, MN
Installation: 4,000 square feet of BASWAphon 30mm Frosted Finish
Date Complete: June, 2006

Opened in June of 2006, Cue at the Guthrie Theater is an experience in and of itself. The restaurant and bar is located on the street level of the Guthrie in downtown Minneapolis' historic Mill District, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Featuring 25-foot ceilings, views of the Mississippi River, and a U-shaped cooking island in the dining area, the Cue creates drama that rivals the performances customers enjoy after their meal. Even the orientation of the ceiling beams and lighting creates spotlights on the dining room floor where customers can feel the power of the stage.

Adding hard-floor surface and a large floor-to-ceiling glass wall to this space created a potentially disastrous acoustical space for the Durrant Group.

BASWA acoustic worked with the Durrant Group's office to develop the specification and ensured, from budgeting through installation, that when potential issues arose, everyone involved with the project was aware of the catastrophic acoustical issues inherent in the striking design.

The Talaske Group was consulted to solve the acoustical problem. Talaske analyzed the space and reviewed Durrant's "sleek" design intent. They recommended that the BASWA Phon Acoustical Finish System be applied to the curved circular ceiling and the curved vertical soffit areas. This was calculated to dramatically increase the absorption of reflected sounds and drastically reduce the reverberation time.

Lee Grauf of Olympic Wall Systems Inc. located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, is one of Sound Solutions' oldest Certified BASWA Phon installers. He was contracted to install 4,000 square feet of the flexible 30mm BASWA Phon system. Noting the curved element and the critical lighting created from the adjacent windows, the Frosted "Light Sand Finish" was used in order to diffuse any minor irregularities in the finished surface.

The Frosted Finish allowed Olympic to increase productivity as well as profitability while delivering a superior finished product to the owner without any punch list or call back issues.

The GRAM, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Architect - Design: wHY Architecture, Los Angeles, California
Architect of Record:  Design Plus, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Acoustical Consultant:  Acoustics By Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Certified BASWAphon Installer: Ritsema Associates, Grandville, MI
Installation:  8,200 square feet of BASWA Phon 40mm Seamless Acoustical Finish System
Date Complete: December, 2007

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (The GRAM), finished in 2007, is the first LEED Gold Certified Art Museum in the world.  The new museum showcases a building of architectural quality both on the exterior and the interior.  The $75 million project redeveloped an entire city block and was named one of Newsweek’s six most important buildings of 2007. 

The 125,000 square-foot three-story building, designed by wHY Architecture of Los Angeles in association with Design Plus of Grand Rapids, utilizes huge poured concrete slabs set at elevations to create large open, high ceiling spaces.  The introduction of floor-to-ceiling windows in the public spaces bathes these areas with natural light.  The large windows, combined with hard surface flooring, became an acoustical challenge.

Gallery spaces were also designed to introduce natural light into them by using “top lantern skylights” installed over a splayed high “pyramid” shaped ceiling.  This created unruly sound reflections; wHY Architecture’s vision of clean crisp spaces needed an acoustical solution.  

The answer: wHY Architecture commissioned Acoustics By Design to analyze the spaces and find sound absorbent materials that would not detract from their design intent.  Acoustics By Design’s resounding recommendation was to use the BASWA Phon Seamless Acoustical Finish System on the ceiling surfaces.

Acoustics By Design’s project leader, Kenric VanWyk, PE, notedthat the grandeur of the spaces, combined with the architects’ selection of hard finished surfaces and requirement for natural light, would create extremely long reverberation times.  By incorporating BASWA Phon onto the ceiling surfaces, wHY Architects and Design Plus were able to maintain their design vision and achieve an outstanding, comfortable acoustical environment which complements the minimalist design.

Why Architecture and Design Plus worked with their Acoustical Consultant, Acoustics By Design to analyze the space and review the complex acoustical objective.  They specified the BASWA Phon Acoustical Finish System be applied to the public lobby area ceilings as well as the Gallery ceiling areas.  This created acoustically pleasant spaces while not compromising the clean contemporary design intent.

Ritsema Associates, one of over 70 Certified BASWA Phon installers, provided experienced plastering tradesmen who were able to deliver a high quality finish.  This local interior contractor was trained on-site by BASWA Phon’s specialized technicians.     


Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, OH

Architectural Firm: Westlake, Reed, Leskosky, Cleveland, OH
Acoustical Consultant: Akustiks LLC, South Norwalk, CT 
Certified Installer: OCP Contractors, Inc., Cleveland, OH
Installation: 2,200 sq ft of BASWA Phon 40mm Frosted Finish
Date Complete: June, 2007

Cleveland Institute of Music’s motto, “By any measure, exceptional,” is a perfect description of the $40 million renovation and expansion done on its campus.   The detailed and thoughtful design of this project gracefully preserves the heart of the existing 1960’s building while providing state-of-the-art amenities to the students.  

The most challenging aspect of this project for the Architectural firm of Westlake Reed Leskosky was the Institute’s insistence on achieving acoustical perfection.  The entire addition and renovation was designed around the Mixon Hall structure.  The shape as well as interior finishes were centered upon making the sound quality flawless and exact. 

The project included the construction of the new Mixon Recital Hall, Robinson Music Library, 10 new practice rooms, 4 additional teaching studios, a Media Center, and numerous practice areas.  The stunning Mixon Recital Hall seats 259 patrons and is designed to accommodate soloists as well as up to a 27-player ensemble. 

This enhancement created not only an incredible example of Cleveland Architecture, but also one of the highest quality acoustical performance spaces anywhere in the country. 

Charles Young of Westlake Reed Leskosky worked with Acoustical Consultant, Akustiks, to analyze the space and review the complex acoustical objectives.  They specified the BASWA Phon Acoustical Finish System in the lobby area ceilings and hallway ceilings located directly outside of the Mixon Recital Hall.   This treatment transformed spaces that were acoustically challenged, due to extreme reflections causing excessive reverberation times, into pleasant spaces where sound is highly intelligible.  BASWA Phon provided Westlake Reed Leskosky a seamless, smooth, sound-absorbing surface to complement the clean contemporary design that they originally envisioned. 

Paul Scarbrough and Russ Todd of Akustiks, LLC notedthat the first sound one notices in Mixon Hall, a glorious addition to the Cleveland Institute of Music, is silence.  Working with Westlake Reed Leskosky, Akustiks achieved a resplendent marriage of sight and sonics. The beauty of the space, with its sleek blend of wood, glass, smooth walls and concrete, never overwhelms the listening or performing experience.

Large windows and natural light created a potential "critical lighting nightmare.”  The Frosted “Light Sand” Finish was installed to dissipate the light and minimize any minor imperfections inherent in all hand-troweled products. 

OCP Contractors, Inc., one of over 150 Certified BASWA Phon installers, provided experienced plastering tradesmen who were able to deliver a high-quality finish under the constraints of a very demanding schedule.

OCP's Project Manager noted, “We were glad we could provide the owner with an exceptional product and finish that changed the dynamics of the space.”   The acoustical quality accomplished with this remodel was no accident.

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