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AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Quality Award

California Drywall Company landed a dream assignment when it was chosen by Nokia to help create a “workplace for the future” in its Nokia R&D Center for Excellence, located the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The client envisioned the building as a “workplace for the future” and a “center for excellence” that would encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration among its employees.

The vision may have been exciting, but the time period for completion might have discouraged less strong-hearted subcontractors: the original construction schedule was fast-tracked from 20 to just 14 weeks. Unfinished shell conditions had to be improved prior to the start of tenant improvements, which created a staggered delivery of floors.

The Nokia R&D Center for Excellence project was a five-story, 156,000 square foot tenant build-out that included spaces with a variety of purposes: technical areas, such as research and development labs and server rooms; huddle spots and café hubs; informal meeting areas and formal meeting rooms, as well as open work areas and a flexible entertainment space. The space is highly secured, technical, flexible, state-of-the-art, energy efficient and seeking LEED Gold certification.

While there were a few “typical” wall and ceiling assemblies on the project, many had not been built before. This required California Drywall to develop engineered details and calculations for the special assemblies. Throughout the project, California Drywall worked with the general contractor, architect and owner to ensure these wall and ceiling assemblies were both constructible and economical.

Employees and visitors enter the Nokia building through an airy lobby. Directly off the lobby is a lounge-style work area housing a café, multipurpose zone including two conference rooms and a seminar room fronted by accordion walls that fold back, creating an enormous space for companywide meetings, lectures, training sessions and events for up to 800 people.

The building’s focal point is an origami-like metal framed and drywall structure that creates a variety of casual seating zones, including row of four tables, two meeting nooks, and two conversation pits. The structure “bursts and fragments” into an abstracted “tree” that rises up 48 feet, through a light well in the second floor, to another key gathering space. California Drywall developed engineered details that depicted the exact pitch, angle, rise and structural elements required to deliver on the design team’s vision. Through design and value engineering, California Drywall brought the construction cost for the “tree” down by more than 50 percent from the design development budget.

About 40 percent of the floor plan is dedicated to shared spaces; the other 60 percent of the building is the Flex Zone, an open work station area. Each floor contains the same basic elements: kitchen, centers, centralized communal spaces called “Hubs,” and two structures dubbed the “saunas.” At the peripheries, clusters of workstations are arranged into “neighborhoods,” each associated with a different research group, and each assigned a dedicated conference space and a private phone room, which provide a quiet respite.

While each floor contains the same basic elements, each also has its own attraction: a lounge on the second floor, arcade games on the third, a Zen space on the fourth and a pool table on the fifth. The first-floor Lodge includes Wellness Suites with daybeds and showers. Each floor is also identifiable by its accent color: yellow on two, red on three, green on four and blue on five.

A changing workplace and economy have mandated reinvention in the design and construction processes. California Drywall is recognized not only for its skillful execution of the construction contract, but also for the new role it played in creating a visionary environment for a sophisticated—and innovative—21st century workforce.

“Between the design challenges and tight schedule, this was anything but a typical project,” said Steve Eckstrom, president of California Drywall. “We are honored that our work has been recognized by our industry peers.”

This is the second year in a row that California Drywall has received an AWCI award. In 2011 the company won the Excellence in Construction Safety Award, which recognizes a contractor member who manages an effective safety program.



California Drywall Co.

San Jose, CA





L&W Supply – GDS

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