Office Build-Out in Chase Tower Relies on Rockfon Ceilings

August 8, 2018

Winstead law firm’s new Houston office features flexible, functional design

Rockfon Sonar sustainable office ceiling tiles and panels installed in Winstead Law Firm office in JPMorgan Chase Tower.

Rockfon Sonar® CDX concealed planks and Artic® square ceiling panels installed in Winstead Law Firm, JPMorgan Chase Tower.

The project

JPMorgan Chase Tower’s 75-story skyscraper in downtown Houston is the tallest building in Texas and one of the top 20 tallest in the U.S. Recently relocated to the 50th through 52nd floors, Winstead PC operates its national business law firm within 54,710 square feet of premium office space.

Good, green design

The iconic tower was designed in the late 1970s by New York’s renowned architects at I. M. Pei & Partners (now Pei Cobb Freed & Partners). As a result of continuous improvements and comprehensive retrofitting throughout the decades, the tower has earned the ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance since 2004. In 2010, it also earned LEED® Gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Compared to the national average office building, the Chase Tower is 46 percent more energy efficient. This translates into estimated greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 3,670 cars from the road. Further demonstrating the building’s commitment to sustainability and ongoing energy-efficient improvements, its tenants also follow green build-out guidelines.

Winstead’s move to a new office design incorporated Rockfon ceilings to help meet its goals for a sustainable, functional and beautiful future.

Interior improvements

Previously located on floors 8-11, Winstead hired Dallas-based lauckgroup (now Perkins+Will) to design its new office as an open, energetic workplace that reflected the transparency of its culture and its refreshed identity.

Efficiency also was key because the move decreased the total available space, “but not due to any reduction in headcount,” said Houston managing shareholder, Tom Van Arsdel. “It is the result of reimagining traditional law firm office design. In fact, while we will occupy less square footage, we will still have the capacity to increase our lawyer count significantly.”

It was important for us to balance function and efficiency while creating an appealing, comfortable atmosphere that fostered productivity for our attorneys, staff, and clients. The design renounces the traditional law firm style of closed-off offices, dark hallways, sequestered meeting spaces, and repressed light, and creates an open, bright and inspiring environment.

Howard Mudrick

Winstead Executive Director
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NA, Winstead Law Firm, office, modern, 1200, suspension system, grid, Sonar, CDX, 2x6, 2x8, planks, acoustics

Winstead Law Firm installed Rockfon Sonar® acoustic ceiling tiles to provide high sound absorption (NRC up to 0.95).

NA, Winstead Law Firm, office, 
modern, 1200, suspension system, grid, Sonar, CDX, 2x6, 2x8, planks, acoustics

Rockfon Sonar® CDX concealed planks and Artic® square ceiling panels in acoustic stone wool shown in Winstead Law Firm hallway.

NA, Winstead Law Firm, office, private office, modern, 1200, suspension system, grid, Artic, SQ, 2x2, acoustics

Chicago Metallic® 1200 suspension system grid shown in private office with Rockfon® acoustic ceiling tiles.

NA, Winstead Law Firm, office, meeting room, modern, 1200, suspension system, grid, Artic, SQ, 2x2, acoustics

Rockfon® acoustic ceiling tiles provide high sound absorption to help control the ambient noise levels, increase speech intelligibility, and improve privacy and concentration for meeting rooms.

Functional and flexible

“The design is modern and bright,” reiterated the lauckgroup. “The palette includes neutral, natural materials that express the comfortable, but forward-thinking brand that the Houston office embodies.”

Throughout the office, suspended ceiling systems also were selected to meet all of these design goals. The Rockfon Sonar® CDX concealed planks and Rockfon Artic® square ceiling panels in acoustic stone wool match the project’s:

  • Modern, neutral palette with a bright, white surface
  • Desired light reflectance, which contributes to energy efficiency
  • Natural materials, and inherent resistance to fire, water, moisture, mold, and microorganisms

Karsten Interior Contractors installed the acoustic ceiling tiles using Chicago Metallic® 1200 Series 15/16-inch exposed suspension system. The metal grid was finished in white to match the panels. In total, Action Gypsum Supply supplied more than 20,000 square feet of Rockfon ceiling systems for installation in Winstead’s office.

Collaboration and concentration

Mudrick added that Winstead’s move challenged the typical hierarchical system inherent to many law firms. “The new office is designed specifically to encourage collaboration and teamwork.” The redesign included numerous collaborative rooms where lawyers can meet more efficiently as a team.

Rockfon ceiling systems also helped balance the openness and collaboration of Winstead’s office with comfort and privacy. Rockfon Sonar panels provide high sound absorption, achieving a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) up to 0.95. High sound absorption helps control the ambient noise levels, prevents echoes, increases speech intelligibility, and improves privacy and concentration.

Indoor air quality also can affect concentration due to material emissions. Rockfon’s extensive portfolio of stone wool acoustic ceiling solutions has earned UL® Environment’s GREENGUARD Gold Certification for low-emitting products.

Optimized acoustics, combined with low-emitting products and materials, support Winstead’s and Chase Tower’s environmental goals, as well as the newest building codes. More than 400 green building codes, standards, guidelines, procurements policies, and rating systems give credit for GREENGUARD Certified products.

The new office offers space to comfortably accommodate up to 75 attorneys, allowing the firm to grow as much as 15 percent. “We gave them a more positive environment in which to work together,” Mudrick summarized. “This is the future for our firm.”

If you would like personalized assistance with product selection, please email: or call us at 800-323-7164

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