SPS Technology’s structural composite panels were used to add office and training space at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Architects iu + bibliowicz were looking to create interior space within the roof structure as part of the backstage renovation project at one of the world’s greatest concert venues, Carnegie Hall.  After years of thoughtful design attempts utilising different construction techniques, that in the end did not meet the requirements, the architects chose SPS for the unique interior floor structural element to create a brand new dance and music training centre and facility office space.

Built in 1889 with the latest state-of-the-art riveted steel frame structure spanning the wide concert hall, the original roof joists were approximately 20ft [6m] high.  The new interior design has SPS spanning between joists at two levels – just above the hall ceiling and at the 10ft [3m] mark.  Due to its slim profile, SPS allowed the architects to realise their vision.  As the project design and planning progressed it was realised that the exterior roof also needed replacing.  To protect the historic ceiling in the hall from construction damage or inclement weather, the first level SPS was designed to fit into an exterior construction hoist and be positioned using simple tools, creating a lightweight, thin and very strong deck with the SPS protecting the historic ceiling.  Adding a waterproof layer on top of the SPS finished the design and the roof could be removed.  

Once the roof was opened up the remainder of the project could proceed quickly.  The roof joists were re-coated, steel framing components added, the second floor SPS panels were easily installed and then skylights fitted and the roof closed.  As the project’s finishing works progressed, the architectural design created new soundproof rooms for music training; hardwood flooring was attached directly to the SPS to replicate the familiar Hall stage flooring, and offices were made with tall glass walls allowing for light to be shared everywhere.

Carnegie Hall is located on a busy midtown Manhattan corner surrounded by 24-hr vehicular traffic and a subway underneath, all of which restricted access to the building for construction.  SPS provided a simplified construction solution in this demanding, constrained site.  SPS composite panels were small and light enough to :

  • be transported by the site’s exterior hoist, 
  • be installed rapidly using prefabricated details, 
  • be used as an early-access safety platform,
  • be stronger than any other solution yet lightweight to not overburden the original steel joists,
  • 100% design load capacity deck immediately available for the ongoing works.