The journey to build the newly constructed Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach, Calif., began more than 20 years ago, when the parish first realized they needed a new home. In 2011, the parish got to see their dreams come true when the groundbreaking began on their new church.

The new house of worship seats 1,200 people and features a classic design and high ceilings that embrace the natural light. The new structure is also earthquake resistant and built directly adjacent to the original 51-year-old church.

In Comes Mowery-Thomason

Mowery-Thomason Inc. was contacted to help build this new, grandiose church. The company, located in Anaheim, Calif., has been involved in the greater Los Angeles drywall and plaster industry for more than 50 years. Founded as a lath and plaster company, Mowery-Thomason grew into the metal framing and drywall field of commercial construction in the late-70s. The company currently has about 75 employees.

“We’re more of a mom-and-pop company compared to corporate America,” Bob Heimerl says, CEO of Mowery-Thomason.”We feel we have more control over our projects.”

Mowery-Thomason is a preferred specialty theme contractor for Disneyland in California. Their other projects range from government facilities, schools, hospitals, sports facilities, retail establishments and churches—like Our Lady Queen of Angels.

“We were contacted by BASWAphon Acoustic while the project was already in the works,” Bob says. “Our portion of the work took about six to eight weeks.”

“We installed the specified material,” Todd Heimerl adds, president of Mowery-Thomason, and Bob’s son. “The acoustical engineers determined ahead of time the best places for us to use the product. After that it was only a matter of what type of finish to use.”

BASWA Acoustic North America LLC supplied nearly 5,000-square-feet of their 30 millimeter Resilient Finish for the project. This includes pre-coated mineral wool panels, PreFill (used to fill joints where two panels meet), panel adhesives, vinyl trims, field applied base coat materials, the company’s Securtec stain-resistant coating, and two different integral pigments to match colors chosen by the architect.

“The installed system provides a .80 NRC,” says Matthew Diaquila, Regional Manager for BASWA in Southern California. “The look our system provides was the other reason behind the choice. BASWAphon looks like a drywall or plaster finish when installed.”

Overcoming Challenges

One of the challenges for BASWA was the installation schedule but working with Mowery-Thomas made that easier.


Name: Our Lady Queen of Angels Church
Location: Newport Beach, Calif.
Specialty Contractor: Mowery-Thomason Inc.
Architect: AC Martin Partners
General Contractor: Illig Construction Company

“The project was behind due to other factors, but that still puts pressure on everyone else involved,” Diaquila says. “Our product does require certain dry times (typically overnight between stages), and it is hand troweled, which by nature takes time. Mowery-Thomason was able to provide a fantastic installation quality while moving as quickly as possible to satisfy the demands of the project schedule.”

“The schedule is usually our biggest issue,” adds Todd. “It doesn’t help working around other trades but we have to get it done. The archdiocese was visiting, so the parish wanted to have the church completed for his arrival as well.”

Regardless of the schedule, Diaquila says the installation was about as challenging as it can get. BASWAphon was installed on convex ceiling surfaces and vertical walls. The vertical walls presented a challenge in that the company’s full system was specified at the higher levels, but seamlessly transitioned to only their finish coats on drywall at the lower levels.

“The building had a very unique design,” Bob says. “It’s a very spacious building with hard surface floors and high ceilings. We had a very good use of material to control the use of sound.”

On the Horizon

Both Mowery-Thomason and BASWA shared a mutual goal of providing top quality products and installation—and this project was no different.

“We had worked with this project’s architect in the past, AC Martin Partners in Los Angeles, their expectations were extremely high and were in fact satisfied greatly,” says Diaquila.

The company looks forward to the rest of year, as a lot of their bigger projects are winding down. Both Bob and Todd mention that the business is very competitive when it comes to beating out other companies for bids.

“We rely a lot on our existing relationships,” Bob says. “Lots of people do what we do so it’s good to keep a good relationship with the people you work with.” 

Infinity Drywall Contracting Inc. subcontracted the acoustical plaster work to Mowary-Thomason. Infinity Drywall was responsible for the design build effort, BIM, metal stud framing, drywall, lath and plaster for the project.