The geometric glass and metal, Edward J.Minskoff Pavilion at Michigan State University in East Lansing, serves as a new face for the Eli Broad College of Business. The pavilion is three stories tall, has 100,000 square feet of interior space and features nearly 21,000 square feet of wood grille systems.

“Generous use of wood ceiling and wall panels provides warmth and adds much needed acoustical absorption for the active social spaces,” says Masako Wada, IIDA, LEED AP, principal LMN Architects, the project’s design architect. 

Integrated Project Delivery

The project followed an IPD framework. “We were hired as a design assist,” says Matt Gaglio, vice president at Mod Interiors, Ira Township, Mich., the installing subcontractor. Gaglio and his team met frequently with the university and architects.

“We came up with the acoustic values for the wood ceilings and walls,” he says. 

The Minskoff Pavilion atrium has a 7,294 square feet, trapezoidal wood ceiling with 842 cross-piecepanels. The ¾” by 3¼” grille members are rift sliced, veneered white oak.

“This big ceiling is more than 50 feet off the floor and irregular in shape,” Gaglio says. “We had to figure out how to hang it and incorporate all the HVAC and lighting in one, big, long process.”

The subcontractor staged materials using the second-floor corridors.

“We’d take each piece, about 1 ft. wide in various lengths, apply needed cuts, mobilize to where it was needed and hang it,” says Brad Webb, project manager at Mod Interiors.

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Quick Thinking

The multipurpose room is two stories high and has wood wall grilles wrapped entirely around it, including the windows. It features a 2,240 square feet cross-piece grille system with 280 panels, and a 880 square feet dowel/cross-piece system with 110 panels. The 1” by 5¼” grille members are made of rift sliced, veneered white oak.

While the grilles were discussed early on, some parties pushed for changes after work began.

“They wanted grilles to run completely around the room and have blackout screens move up and down behind them at the windows,” Gaglio says.

Initially, the blackout screens were to be 5-ft. rolls, but they were changed to 10-ft. rolls. So, the subcontractor changed the cable and mounting bracket designs and hung them off every other mullion.

“We came up with the change in one week,” Webb says.

CAD Layout

In the career center, the subcontractor installed a 1,545 square feet cross-piece grille ceiling with 240 panels. The grille members are solid poplar, 5/8” by 3¼” and finished with opaque white lacquer.

“The panels finish to the width of the room, flush to the soffits,” Gaglio says. “The wood slats span a ceiling divided by glazing. We came up with a way to bury the track and get that thing installed early.”

The effect is for the grilles to run continuously through the glass walls of one space to another. All the slats line up.

“We did a CAD layout of all light fixtures,” Gaglio says. “We put a template on the floor, and the electrical contractor plumb-bobbed up to find their light locations. We laid out a lot of stuff on this job.”

Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University

Architect of Record:
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Design Architect:
LMN Architects
Seattle, Wash.

Ceiling and Wall Contractor:
Mod Interiors
Ira Township, Mich.

Custom engineered wood ceilings from 9Wood,
Springfield, Ore.