Dunbar senior high school



In the heart of Truxton Circle, Washinton D.C. - a hidden treasure - Dunbar High School sits proudly. Continuously raising the bar for education, Dunbar is 99% minority and consistently graduates influential alumni entrusted to make a difference in the modern world. 

Looking to the future, Dunbar High School updated its campus and added a new 600 seat, 10,000 square foot auditorium - inspired by its 1917 predecessor.  The challenge to bring warmth and intimacy, culminating with the seriousness of its setting; the architecture of the auditorium includes no right angles - reminding students to think outside of the compulsory box.

The grand scale of this auditorium and the contemporary design is breathtaking. The installation was professional and the wood panel grille ceiling and walls are beautiful. This historic school will be able to continue to provide quality education in a remarkable environment.


The new auditorium features 34-foot high ceilings, steep-sloped floors, and a balcony overhang to divide the space. To avoid emanating sound from the stage, the expansive space required some form of acoustic disruption - ideally, that melded well with design intent and performance functionality. Rulon Internationals Panel Grille system coupled with the Linear Open system offered the best value without compromising the design objective or acoustic transparency.

The decision to use Panel Grille in the auditorium was based on the knowledge that the system is able to convert from an "open" system - allowing for airflow and a continuous design, to an acoustically sound product at any point. The unconventional use 

To create a seamless transition from the sloped floors to the ceiling, structural features referred to as “ribbons” were installed to a substrate wall consisting of a layer of metal framing, plywood, and drywall prior - creating a high level of complexity. Once attached, the panel grilles would run up the wall into angled corners, continue overhead across the ceiling, and finally return down the adjacent wall. 

In order to prepare for potential issues in the field, as well as become familiar with the ceiling installation - the installers joined the Rulon International engineering team at headquarters to build a mock ceiling and wall section. After working out complications in the varied planes, the installation process proved to be relatively painless.