As part of the modernization and historic renovation of Charlotte High School in Rochester, New York, CJS Architects were tasked with restoring an octagonal space used for vocal and instrumental music that boasted a 40 foot diameter drum ceiling. Rory Zimmer, Designer and Project Manager of CJS Architects, explained that when the renovation commenced, the space had become dull and dreary, employing conventional lighting and acoustical solutions. The rotunda space, referred to in the original drawings as the "Lantern", would need a boost of life and light in order to achieve the envisioned refined, multi-purpose space that could host large events for students, faculty as well as the public.
The design required sound absorption of low and high frequencies, in a seamless and monolithic finish, while maintaining the aesthetic quality of traditional plaster. Despite discussion of the potential use of another product, BASWA acoustic worked closely with CJS and the project’s Interior Contractor, Accurate Acoustical, to help ensure that a reliable and innovative product was installed to keep the creative design objective. The BASWA Phon 40mm Classic Base Finish was selected for the 1,200 square foot installation. BASWA Phon’s non-water soluble properties would allow CJS Architects to use water-based paint for the hand-painted ceiling design.
Accurate Acoustical was trained on-site to become a Certified BASWA Phon Installer. Jerry O’Keefe, Project Manager of Accurate Acoustical, remarks of this training and experience, “Accurate Acoustical has nothing but good things to say about BASWA Phon. The installation training and technical support was excellent.” By becoming a BASWA Phon installer, Accurate Acoustical was able to capitalize on the Acoustical Plaster package while also establishing the company as a unique firm in the region that is capable of installing such a product.
Zimmer stated, “We were happy to be able to use BASWA Phon, as it completely transformed the space. Having experience with a competitor, we know BASWA Phon is a superior product without question."
CJS Architects finished product was a grand ceiling design that acts as a large compass within the space, orienting a person to True North. Zimmer describes the design as, “an up-lit ceiling tinted to a golden hue. The space, high atop the building glows at night, becoming like a Lantern viewed from the avenue below.”
Charlotte High School has a new space that not only serves for musical purposes, but for other events within the school and community as well and that has been recognized by the AIA with an Interior Design/Environmental Rehabilitation award.