Commercial Workplace Design Case Study

Client: Norman Chapel at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

Norman Chapel at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

4521 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45232

Built in 1880 and characterized by Old World craftsmanship, including stonecutting and ornate stained glass windows, Norman Chapel was originally intended as a place to conduct funerals and to meditate. The ceiling was covered with panels that were a deep rich blue, inspiring contemplative moods. In recent years, the Chapel has transformed into a prominent place to conduct weddings.

The panels in place had been there since the whole of Cincinnati was flooded some 50-60 years ago. These panels were beginning to lose their adhesion and fall, sometimes during ceremonies. The panels predated sheetrock and were composed of compressed layers of paper covered with a chalk-like paint.

Spring Grove, the owner, contacted KZF Design, who in turn contacted Barry Cooper, ID&A’s acoustical specialist in the Workplace Acoustics division. Their problems were two-fold: how to match the color and at the same time, improve the acoustics. In very old buildings, amplification did not exist, so the acoustics were designed with that in mind. Once amplification is added, the need to absorb excess sound increases greatly.

After running an acoustical analysis with a reverberation meter, Barry recommended they use the Whisper Walls acoustical panel system. This allows an almost limitless selection of fabrics (and thus a close match to the existing color) and which allowed very precise installation of custom panels in both the main chapel and the foyer. Two-story “dance floor” scaffolding was erected and installation completed.

An interesting story is that the installers found a newspaper behind one of the panels from the 1950’s as a sort of time capsule left by the team that installed the panels being replaced. Our installers replaced it with a 2005 newspaper, which will hopefully not be seen by anyone for at least another 50 years.

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Products Used

Not applicable.