A sleek LandscapeInteriors™ metal fabric application from Cambridge Architectural elegantly dresses a gallery ceiling and building elevators inside the high-tech Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The Newseum, located between the White House and the U.S. Capitol on the National Mall, boasts world-class architecture from Polshek Partnership Architects and houses seven levels of unparalleled artifacts, media and interactive experiences that tell the five-centuries-old story of news, highlighting both contemporary and historic issues.
The LandscapeInteriors woven metal mesh system, installed in the Newseum in elevator applications and as a ceiling in the museum’s largest gallery, contributes to the building’s modern aesthetic and unique environment, all the while adding supreme functionality and durability to the space.
“We strive to contribute to and create the most forward-thinking architectural projects and ideas,” says Heather Collins, Director of Marketing for Cambridge Architectural. “We’re especially proud to have provided an innovative and beautiful product that augments the architecture showcasing the Newseum.”
“We like Cambridge mesh very much. It’s a dramatic element in a building that employs cutting-edge architecture,” says Max Page, Deputy Director and Vice President of the Newseum.
In the museum's largest space, the 8,000-square-foot News Corporation News History Gallery, Cambridge mesh panels create a stunning and versatile ceiling system. The panels are custom painted black, a Cambridge MeshFX™ treatment, to match the gallery’s design, softly blending with the background to cause the historic newspapers, newsbooks and magazines to stand out visually. The mesh also creates a subtle diffusion so that the artifacts below will not be harmed from intense direct lighting.
Cambridge Architectural also specially engineered the ceiling panels for easy installation and removal to meet the needs of routine maintenance.
“The mesh panels were very easy to install and work with, because it was a modular system,” says Stephen Hattwick, Project Engineer and Exhibit Coordinator for Turner Construction, general contractor of the project. “We just screwed the panels onto the perimeter of the framework. This way, the middle panels can be removed first without any unscrewing, making it very easy to access the systems above the ceiling.”
Inside the Newseum’s elevators, Cambridge mesh provides a virtually indestructible cladding that adds to the smart and streamlined design of the building. The eye-catching woven metal fabric is essentially maintenance free, reducing the need for replacement materials and reducing associated costs.
One function that both the ceiling and elevator systems achieve for the Newseum is controlled acoustics. Because of the clean, streamlined design of the museum, the building’s interior consists of many hard parallel surfaces – which causes sound to bounce from wall-to-wall, adding noise to the environment. However, Cambridge mesh breaks up parallel surfaces and helps to reduce the acoustic liveliness of a room.
“Because it’s mesh, sound doesn’t bounce off its surface. So, the acoustics in the building are phenomenal,” says Page.
Cambridge’s Ridge metal fabric pattern was used for the LandscapeInteriors application, with a custom painted MeshFX ceiling system. Ridge metal fabric features rigid, open weaves that are often used in stair rail systems and grillwork. A total of 7,000 square feet of Ridge woven metal mesh was used for the ceiling system.
Cambridge’s Tidal metal fabric pattern was used as a LandscapeInteriors application in the elevator installations. Tidal metal fabric features rigid, closed weaves that are affixed to substrates and installed in elevator cabs or as wall, floor, ceiling and façade panels. A total of 1,232 square feet of mesh was used in the elevators. Cambridge’s Panel attachment hardware was used to install the Tidal product. The metal fabric is first attached to a substrate such as MDF, and Z-clips join the panels to the sub-structure.
Joining New York City's Polshek Partnership Architects LLP on the project team was Turner Construction of Washington, D.C., as general contractor. The Newseum was completed in April of 2008.