Client News: Helios Education Foundation parking structure makes an elegant impression with Rockfon metal ceiling systems

Posted on November 14th, 2022 by Heather West

Rockfon_AZ-Helios-parking_DrorBaldinger72_web.jpgArchitekton designed Helios Education Foundation's newly constructed, 65,000-square-foot Education Campus in Phoenix, Arizona. The elegantly angular, desert-hued, post-secondary education facility serves as a beacon of excellence and a critical resource for the education community.

"Evoking the natural geology of Arizona, the architecture is optimally sculpted in response to climate, orientation and urban influences; protectively embracing diverse environments for people to congregate and share ideas," described Architekton. "The integration of biophilic elements, controlled daylight, institutional-grade materials, energy- and water-conscious design, dynamic landscapes, and public art, results in a physical expression of sustainable and resilient design in the urban Sonoran Desert."

For many students, staff and visitors arriving at the Education Campus, the parking garage will create their first impression. "Architekton came to us for advice on an exterior-grade ceiling that would meet their aesthetic, performance and sustainability goals," said Rockfon's architectural sales manager in Phoenix, Roxanne Bennett. "Our Technical Services Team helped guide them through which products fit their need."

"You don't see a lot of nice ceilings in parking structures," observed Rockfon's project coordinator at the time, John Salazar, now field applications technician with the Technical Services Team. "For this one, the architect wanted to conceal the exposed structure. There are only a few options available to handle the designed wind pressures and standard 2-by-2 acoustical tiles did not work with their design intent."

Rockfon_AZ-Helios-parking_DrorBaldinger73_web.jpgRockfon has several ceiling systems suitable for exterior use. Salazar understood that the customer did not want a linear plank. He said, "They wanted rectangular panels, and they wanted the biggest size we could do."

Delivering the desired welcome, Architekton specified Rockfon® Spanair® Torsion Spring concealed 2-by-6-foot metal ceiling panels in a reflective Satin Silver finish to showcase a bright, attractive, modern appearance. Enhancing their monolithic aesthetic, the panels were paired with custom-engineered, wide-face Chicago Metallic® heavy-duty, steel ceiling suspension systems.

Bringing the desired look to reality, Barrett-Homes Contractors installed Rockfon's ceiling systems as provided by local distributor Action Gypsum Supply. With two levels semi-exposed and two levels enclosed, the sturdy metal system also meets the project's performance requirements for wind loads and seismic design category.

The Chicago Metallic grid system accommodates air, fire, audio and security systems and the panels neatly conceal them out of sight. Rockfon Spanair aluminum panels feature edge springs, which allow the panels to nest in place and easily demount for simplified jobsite installation and routine maintenance accessibility.

The non-combustible metal ceiling panels have a Class A Fire Rating. As a non-organic material, metal also does not absorb moisture or support the growth of mold, mildew or other microorganisms. Along with supporting safety and wellness, the ceiling systems contribute to Helios' sustainability strategies. The metal systems are manufactured with 100 percent recycled content.

Efficient and effective, they require minimal care and cleaning during their long lifespan. Reduced maintenance helps save labor and material costs. At the end of their years of service in the parking garage, Rockfon's metal ceiling systems are 100 percent locally recyclable.

While the project was still being conceived, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Southwest Chapter honored Architekton and Helios' new Education Campus with a 2018 P.R.I.D.E. "On the Boards" Award. Recognizing its significance to the community, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) Arizona Chapter awarded Helios as the 2020 Office Build-to-Suit Project of the Year.

Today, the Education Campus is the permanent home to the Foundation and brings together four of Helios' strategic partners: College Success Arizona, Expect More Arizona, Teach for America - Phoenix and Achieve60AZ.

"This Campus is intentionally designed to be a central gathering point to foster collaboration, inspire innovation and allow people to work side-by-side to create opportunities for all Arizona students," said Vince Roig, founding chair of Helios Education Foundation. "This is a place for Helios' partners, including education organizations, policymakers and community leaders, to map out big ideas, long-term strategies and impactful investments to help break down barriers to a quality education."

"Our community has some big goals and aspirations for education in Arizona and Helios is committed to helping achieve the goals," said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. "We hope this Campus will help us continue to collaborate in new and innovative ways to create a more equitable education system and increase student success."


Helios Education Foundation, Parking Structure, 4747 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018
• Owner: Helios Education Foundation; Phoenix;
• Architect: Architekton; Tempe, Arizona;
• General contractor: Katerra (formerly UEB Builders); Scottsdale, Arizona
• Construction manager: Turner Construction Company; Phoenix;
• Ceiling system – installing contractor: Barrett-Homes Contractors; Phoenix;
• Ceiling system – distributor: Action Gypsum Supply; Phoenix;
• Ceiling system – representative: Commercial Architectural Products; Phoenix;
• Ceiling systems – manufacturer: Rockfon; Chicago;
• Photographer: Dror Baldinger, FAIA | Architectural Photography, LLC; courtesy of Architekton
• Campus tour video:

About Rockfon
Rockfon is part of the ROCKWOOL Group and is offering advanced acoustic ceilings and wall solutions to create beautiful, comfortable spaces.

At the ROCKWOOL Group, we are committed to enriching the lives of everyone who experiences our product solutions. Our expertise is perfectly suited to tackle many of today's biggest sustainability and development challenges, from energy consumption and noise pollution to fire resilience, water scarcity and flooding. Our range of products reflects the diversity of the world's needs, while supporting our stakeholders in reducing their own carbon footprint.

Stone wool is a versatile material and forms the basis of all our businesses. With approximately 11,500 passionate colleagues in 39 countries, we are the world leader in stone wool solutions, from building insulation to acoustic ceilings, external cladding systems to horticultural solutions, engineered fibers for industrial use to insulation for the process industry, and marine and offshore.


Filed under: Projects, Rockfon

Story Resources

Word documentRequest high res photographs for publication