The Helios Education Foundation’s Education Campus was designed by Architekton to be an elegantly angular, desert-hued, post-secondary education facility that serves as a beacon of excellence and a critical resource for the education community. The Education Campus is the permanent home to the Foundation and brings together four of Helios’ strategic partners: College Success Arizona, Expect More Arizona, Teach for America - Phoenix and Achieve60AZ.

As the first impression for many students, staff and visitors arriving at the Education Campus, the parking garage required an exterior-grade ceiling that met aesthetic, performance and sustainability goals. The design called for large, rectangular metal panels with a bright, attractive, modern appearance to conceal the exposed structure and handle expected wind pressures. Delivering the desired welcome, Architekton specified Rockfon® metal ceiling panels in heavy-duty, steel ceiling suspension systems.

Watch a video of the Helios Education Campus to learn more about the project.

Helios Education Foundation, Parking Structure

Phoenix, AZ

Evoking the natural geology of Arizona, the architecture is optimally sculpted in response to climate, orientation and urban influences; protectively embracing diverse environments for people to congregate and share ideas.

The integration of biophilic elements, controlled daylight, institutional-grade materials, energy- and water-conscious design, dynamic landscapes, and public art, results in a physical expression of sustainable and resilient design in the urban Sonoran Desert.


The parking structure features Rockfon® Spanair® Torsion Spring concealed 2-by-6-foot metal ceiling panels in a reflective Satin Silver finish to create an elegant first impression for visitors. Enhancing their monolithic aesthetic, the panels were paired with a custom-engineered, wide-face Chicago Metallic® heavy-duty, steel ceiling suspension systems. With two levels semi-exposed and two levels enclosed, the sturdy metal system also meets the project’s performance requirements for wind loads and seismic design category.

"Architekton came to us for advice on an exterior-grade ceiling that would meet their aesthetic, performance and sustainability goals. Our Technical Services Team helped guide them through which products fit their need," said Roxanne Bennett, Rockfon's Architectural Sales Manager.

The non-combustible metal ceiling panels have a Class A Fire Rating. As a non-organic material, metal also does not absorb moisture or support the growth of mold, mildew or other microorganisms. The Chicago Metallic grid system accommodates air, fire, audio and security systems and the panels neatly conceal them out of sight.

This Campus is intentionally designed to be a central gathering point to foster collaboration, inspire innovation and allow people to work side-by-side to create opportunities for all Arizona students.

This is a place for Helios’ partners, including education organizations, policymakers and community leaders, to map out big ideas, long-term strategies and impactful investments to help break down barriers to a quality education.

Vince Roig

founding chair of Helios Education Foundation

Rockfon Spanair aluminum panels feature edge springs, which allow the panels to nest in place and easily demount for simplified jobsite installation and routine maintenance accessibility. Along with supporting safety and wellness, the ceiling systems contribute to Helios’ sustainability strategies. The metal systems are manufactured with 100 percent recycled content. Efficient and effective, they require minimal care and cleaning during their long lifespan, saving labor and material costs. At the end of their years of service in the parking garage, Rockfon’s metal ceiling systems are 100 percent locally recyclable.

"Helios decided to use striking, unique metal ceilings in their parking structure. Rockfon metal products met the criteria to withstand wind pressures, and complement the design of the Foundation's new facility. The chosen products achieved both the performance requirements and the design intent," explained John Salazar, Rockfon's Field Applications Technician.

Our community has some big goals and aspirations for education in Arizona and Helios is committed to helping achieve the goals.

We hope this Campus will help us continue to collaborate in new and innovative ways to create a more equitable education system and increase student success.

Paul J. Luna

president and CEO, Helios Education Foundation

Helios Education Foundation, Parking Structure

Location:Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Architect:Architekton; Tempe, Arizona
Contractor:Katerra (formerly UEB Builders); Scottsdale, Arizona
Installer:Barrett-Homes Contractors; Phoenix, Arizona
Photographer:© Dror Baldinger, FAIA | Architectural Photography, LLC; courtesy of Architekton
Tiles:Rockfon® Spanair® Torsion Spring Concealed Metal Panel