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Dover High School in Dover, Del.

ABHA Architects designed Dover High School with feature areas that look like wood.ABHA Architects designed Dover High School with feature areas that look like wood. The high school is located on the site of a former soybean farm. Wood-colored panels were installed on the walls and ceiling of a tiered, lecture hall on the second floor that overlooks and extends into a library.

Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Systems supplied its MetalWorks Wall Panels with a Reflections laminate finish and MetalWorks Torsion Spring Ceiling Panels for the project, completed in August 2014. The wood-like finish was created by bonding printed vinyl onto the aluminum. Carl Krienen, project architect at ABHA Architects, says MetalWorks panels were specified instead of real wood for flexibility and economy. "The bowed nature of the lecture hall wall in combination with the radial nature of the sloped ceiling presented a real geometric challenge," he says. "However, the MetalWorks panels proved to be a very effective system compared to wood and made it possible for us to economically get the look we were trying to achieve."

Krienen says the torsion spring ceiling panels install in a concealed grid system, in which they butt up against each other. "This de-emphasized the joints and produced the consistent plane we wanted on both the wall and ceiling surfaces," he says.

The wall and ceiling panels are perforated and backed with a fiberglass infill to meet acoustical requirements for the library. Additionally, the metal panels provide downward accessibility to the plenum.

Krienen says studies show abundant natural light and good acoustics are critical to learning. "In the Dover library, we were able to accomplish both as well as create an environment that makes students feel welcome," he says.

Owner: Capital School District, Dover
Architect: ABHA Architects, Wilmington, Del.
Metal ceiling system/metal wall panels: Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Systems, Lancaster, Pa., www.armstrong.com/metalworks