Encircling the historic Diller Building at the corner of 2nd and University in downtown Seattle rises a classically clean yet elegantly unique skyscraper. The structure houses 1,000,000 square feet of office space and peers directly over the Puget Sound. The windows reflect Seattle’s skyline while the occasional splash of wood connects the buildings to the heavily forested pacific northwest. The skyscraper – now renamed “Qualtrics Tower” – stands completed, ready to welcome occupants as the city’s downtown continues to evolve.
One of the most inviting spaces, the dynamic, open-air urban village beneath the tower, creates the illusion of a tree canopy over a set of concrete terraces. The 24,000 square feet of public space includes local retail, art, culture, and green spaces and is capped by a protective covering of wood. Originally designed to be 4” wide tongue and groove Ash lumber finished with a fire-rated coating on-site, Rulon’s engineering team suggested some alternate assembly and profiling options that are showcased on the building today. The original design prompted two different application concerns First, applying finish to an already-installed system does not fully coat individual boards (front, back, and sides) and often does not provide for a fully-enveloped fire coating or a balanced finish to prevent warping or cupping due to expansion and contraction. Second, attaching loose tongue & groove boards to a completely sheathed substructure without a proper layout would have been incredibly time-consuming and detrimental to the visual aesthetic of the design concept. Instead, Rulon provided a pre-finished Linear Closed system that was modified to match the style of the original ceiling design, provided a Class A, factory-applied finish, and developed an invisible attachment method that would retain the natural look and feel of the Ash ceiling system.
Unique to this ceiling design, multiple intersecting planes required that the wood ceiling system change orientation to either match or run perpendicular to the direction of the slope. A loose-board tongue & groove approach to this layout would have resulted in multiple complex cuts and no guarantee of alignment accuracy. Rulon provided a full RCP layout and an installation guide to assist with the installation. This project would not have been a success without the ceiling contractor who was instrumental in handling the general installation as well as field cutting for MEPs and edge conditions.