Client News: LEED Gold-certified Royal Alberta Museum displays Rockfon’s ceilings in the largest museum in western Canada
Posted on December 15th, 2022 by Heather West
Located in downtown Edmonton's Arts and Entertainment District, north of City Hall, the new Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) is the largest museum in western Canada. Greeting approximately 400,000 visitors annually, the RAM's 419,000-square-foot building houses 2.5 million items in its collection as featured in more than 82,000 square feet of exhibits on human and natural history. Reflecting its focus on people and the environment, the fully accessible museum earned LEED® Gold certification through the Canada Green Building Council.
Designed by DIALOG Design with Ledcor Design-Build, museum planning consultant Lundholm Associates and acoustical engineers FFA Consultants, Baytek Interiors provided design-assist services on the RAM's interior walls and ceilings. To meet the project's numerous aesthetic, performance and sustainability goals, Baytek recommended multiple ceiling systems from Rockfon's complete portfolio of acoustic stone wool and metal ceiling panels, suspension systems and perimeter trim.
DIALOG described the design concept as emanating "from a deep understanding of the Royal Alberta Museum, the province and the site. The architecture gives primacy to the stories and the objects of the museum. The engineering responds to this vision, creating a museum that is sustainable, contributes to a vibrant downtown, is well designed and fully accessible. It is a place to explore and connect – to Alberta, to ideas, to people."
Implementing this vision, DIALOG added, "The museum is a hive of activity researching, inspecting, restoring, preserving and displaying, which presents a variety of environmental conditions to design for."
Once the final design and materials were approved, Baytek carried through with installation of Rockfon's ceiling systems and completed construction on the museum's interiors. The RAM and its design-build team took advantage of every space within the building, not just the galleries. Display cases are even located in washroom entries.
Rockfon's acoustic stone wool and metal ceiling panels showcase a modern appearance that complements the museum's design without distracting from its exhibitions. The white surface of Rockfon® Alaska®, Artic®, Medical™ Plus and Sonar® reflect up 86 percent of light for a comfortable, diffused illumination that minimizes glare on the framed artworks. Reflecting less than 0.05 percent of light, Rockfon® Color-all™ charcoal and Industrial™ black panels also were installed in selected exhibit spaces for a more immersive, dramatic effect.
In addition to enhancing the RAM's visual experience, Rockfon's products optimize the acoustics within the museum. Acoustic comfort is recognized by LEED as part of its Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) criteria. Rockfon Industrial black panels deliver exceptional sound absorption with a noise reduction coefficient of 1.05 NRC.
Contrasting in color, but not performance, Rockfon Sonar's white ceiling panels also provide excellent sound absorption with a 0.95 NRC. For improved acoustics and visual variety in the exhibit hall, Rockfon® Planostile™ snap-in metal ceiling panels were perforated and an insulating Acoutex™ backer was added to achieve up to a 0.90 NRC.
Contributing to the RAM's climate-controlled environment for its artwork, Rockfon Medical Plus offers outstanding performance for air cleanliness and complies with clean room ISO Class 4 standards. The stone wool material does not support the growth of microorganisms and has been tested to meet microbiological class M1 Zone 4 (very high risk) requirements. These ceiling panels demonstrate enhanced durability, dirt resistance and effective disinfection, without the use of added chemicals.
Further supporting EQ considerations and indoor air quality, all of Rockfon's stone wool products are UL® GREENGUARD® Gold certified for low emissions in office and educational environments. UL Certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and Declare Labels also are available for Rockfon's products.
EPDs, HPDs and Declare Labels assist design professionals in making informed product choices with respect to the health and well-being of building owners and occupants. Material transparency, ingredient reporting and documentation also may contribute to attaining LEED credits.
All of Rockfon's products specified for the RAM were manufactured with recycled content. Stone wool is sourced from naturally abundant basalt rock and combined with recycled materials to produce the ceiling panels. The metal ceiling panels, perimeter trim and suspension systems are 100 percent locally recyclable at the end of their lifespan in the museum.
The RAM's building is designed for a 100-year service life, ensuring that it will be a part of the community for generations to come. Along with long-lasting, low-emitting products made with recycled materials, the museum's additional LEED and sustainable design strategies included: access to public transportation and bicycle storage, locally adapted landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient HVAC systems, building envelopes enhanced for thermal performance, and LED lighting and occupancy sensors paired with high-performance glazing to maximize daylighting.
DIALOG praised the teamwork's successful result, saying, "The new museum's impressive LEED Gold certification is a testament to the close collaboration between all design disciplines, the client and contractors."
Honoring its achievement, the RAM and its design-build team earned the Canadian Design Build Institute's Design Build Award for Buildings, the Canadian Consulting Engineering's Award of Excellence in the Buildings category and the Canada Green Building Council's Alberta Chapter's Excellence in Green Building for New Construction.
According to the RAM itself: "The design has an engaging sense of place and responds to the architecture and spirit of Edmonton and Alberta. It features a continuous narrative, a dialogue between inside and out, between the city, the building, and nature. The Royal Alberta Museum is bright, warm and welcoming, inviting visitors to come in and discover Alberta in a dynamic new way."
Chris Robinson, the RAM's former executive director, added, "From a public perspective, this building is striking – soaring, light-filled atriums balanced with intimate exhibit spaces that allow our collections to shine. But what the public doesn't necessarily see is its functionality. This building provides us with the right conditions and tools to conserve the millions of objects held in our care."
Apart from the staff areas for research, restoration, preservation, display creation and administration, visitors to the RAM can explore the Natural History Hall, the Human History Hall, a living Bug Gallery, an interactive Children's Gallery and a state-of-the-art feature gallery for international exhibitions, as well as the theater, classrooms, museum shop, café, spacious lobby and outdoor gardens.
Royal Alberta Museum (RAM), 9810 103a Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0G2; https://royalalbertamuseum.ca
• Owner: Government of Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; https://www.alberta.ca
• Architect and interior designer: DIALOG Design; Edmonton, Alberta; https://dialogdesign.ca
• Design-build contractor: Ledcor Design-Build (Alberta) Inc., part of Ledcor Construction; Alberta; https://www.ledcor.com
• Museum planning consultant: Lundholm Associates; Toronto; https://www.lundholm.ca
• Acoustical engineer: FFA Consultants in Acoustics and Noise Control Ltd.; Calgary, Alberta; https://www.ffaacoustics.com
• Ceiling systems – installing contractor: Baytek Interiors Inc.; Edmonton, Alberta; https://www.baytekinteriors.com
• Ceiling systems – distributor: Pacific West Systems Supply Ltd.; Edmonton, Alberta; http://pacwestsystems.com
• Ceiling systems – manufacturer: Rockfon; Chicago; https://www.rockfon.com
• Photographer: Tom Arban Photography Inc.
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.