Above the Curve

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The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) in Columbus, Ohio, began with a vision from the late Senator John Glenn, Colonel, USMC (Retired), who understood the pressing need to carefully preserve not only the names, dates, and battles, but also the intimate memories, personal belongings, and painful losses of U.S. veterans. The foundational pillars of the NVMM are to honor Americans’ contributions to the country through military service; connect civilians with veterans and their experience; inspire visitors to serve their community and nation as active, engaged citizens; and educate schoolchildren about the history and value of service.

Equal to the mission of the museum is the architecture. From first sight, the building impresses upon visitors the importance of what lies within. The architect designed an iconic concrete arch structure, constructed from 28 million pounds of concrete, with a glass curtainwall system and spiral processional ascending to a rooftop sanctuary. Even before opening, the NVMM received international recognition for its innovative design and was named one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 by Architectural Digest.

The museum features a great hall, as well as a space for gatherings and public events. The exhibition galleries follow the curve of the concrete rings, and the experience concludes with an interactive media experience in the heart of the building. A second-floor mezzanine features a memorial room to honor fallen heroes, and a lower level incorporates a rotating exhibition gallery, interpretive classrooms, and meeting rooms.

The construction of the NVMM began in December 2015, and the museum celebrated its grand opening Oct. 27, 2018. Before the doors could open, a lot of work took place by NWFA members The Final Floor and Lanham Hardwood Flooring.

Tony Stalford, Commercial Flooring Installation Specialist at The Final Floor, and his team installed 26,000 square feet of oak in a parquet pattern on all three levels of the museum. They also installed matching oak on the staircases – this differing slightly with the nosing on each stair featuring a walnut strip.

“Our team faced a few challenges during this install, the main one being that the concrete moisture was at 90 percent, which was too high to install the floors,” says Stalford. “To help balance the dry air and wet concrete and get the building ready for installation, the jobsite construction company, Turner Construction, rented commercial humidification machines.”

Another challenge Stalford had to work with was the shape of the building. “The building is kind of like a snail shell,” says Stalford. “There’s not a single straight wall in the place, which added some complexity to the installation throughout the entire job.”

To combat these challenges, Stalford and his team had to get creative and ensure they were using the proper products to obtain a successful installation. This is where Lanham Hardwood Flooring stepped in.

Chris Hardshaw, Sales Manager at Lanham Hardwood Flooring, helped Stalford and his team by supplying Bostik’s GreenForce – a hardwood flooring adhesive and moisture control membrane. “After realizing that the relative humidity was too high, we worked with Chris from Lanham and Adam Abell from Bostik and decided Bostik’s GreenForce was the best choice for this job due to its adhesion and moisture-controlling properties, as well as its warranty covering moisture on slab,” says Stalford. “It was worth the investment to ensure these floors would perform for years to come.”

In addition to supplying the adhesive for the job, Lanham Hardwood Flooring also supplied vents from Grillworks Inc. and Bona Traffic, which was used to finish the floors.

The Final Floor was then ready to conquer the next challenge. “With the curved walls, many of the wood parquet pieces had to have custom-curved cuts,” says Stalford. “The unique parquet pattern combined with the custom-curved cuts caused many of the individual pieces to rise up. Our team spent many, many hours sanding the floors at a 45-degree angle in both directions to avoid hitting the pickets straight on and to guarantee the floor was sanded flat.”

“We were really happy with the way the floors turned out,” continues Stalford. “It was a very notable project.”

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