The National Veterans Memorial Museum (NVMM) in Columbus, Ohio, was constructed to not only honor the contributions of our veterans but also to educate visitors about the consummate value of their service. The NVMM is now able to share information concerning the role our servicemen and women have played throughout the history of the United States.
“The national designation lends validity to say, ‘We are representative of those more than 20 million veterans alive today, the 42 million veterans that have ever existed in our country, and we’re trying to tell their story,’” said Amy Taylor, one of the project’s leaders. “And we’re proud that it’s here in Columbus.”
Taylor is the COO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, the group behind the museum. She says the project was really begun by the late John Glenn, veteran, astronaut and longtime senator from Ohio.
“The concrete and steel structure is literally a sculpture, as well as being the primary architecture of the facility,” said Nigel Carter, senior project manager at Turner Construction, the project’s general contractor. “Our structural blueprints include limited dimensional information due to the immense complexity of the structural design, which means we actually are building the entire building directly from the 3D model.”
He added that every piece of formwork, rebar, structural steel and curtain wall component is unique. “Each one is fabricated specifically for its singular location,” he said.
The building’s floor was also a masterpiece. In all, there were 26,000 square feet of wood parquet flooring installed on all three levels.
“This was a great project, but a challenging one,” said Tony Stalford, president, The Final Floor.
“At first, we specified Bostik’s Best to install the wood product, but when we checked out the exact RH [relative humidity] in the concrete flooring, it was just too high. So, we spoke with Chris Hardsaw of Lanham Hardwood Flooring and also Adam Abell of Bostik. Collectively, we decided it would be best to use Bostik’s GreenForce due to its warranty covering moisture on slab. Now this was not an inexpensive investment, as Greenforce basically gave us coverage of 20 square feet per gallon. But we knew that moving forward, the NVVM would have an enormous amount of indoor foot traffic. We wanted a wood flooring adhesive that would perform for years and years.”
GreenForce is a high-performance hardwood flooring adhesive that also works as a moisture control membrane all-in-one. The product maintains durability and moisture protection properties of other high-end urethane hardwood floor adhesives, but it is easier to spread and clean off of prefinished flooring, even after full cure. A time saver, concrete moisture testing is not required when the slab is properly prepared, dry to the touch and fully cured.
The flooring installation project began in February 2018 and was completed roughly four months later.
“The biggest issue was that when we wanted to begin installing the parquet flooring within the building, the concrete was very wet, yet, the air was very dry,” Stalford said. “We could not even begin until we brought in humidification machines to add some moisture to the air. On top of that, there was not one straight wall anywhere to be found within the entire structure! This meant that many of the wood parquet pieces had to have very specialized curved cuts. Therefore, the intricate inlaid picket-fence design within each individual piece, many times rose upwards, making the surface of the wood not entirely flat. What did we have to do to fix this? We spent hours and hours and hours, having to sand down wood pieces, which were not totally on the same plane.”
Another challenge were the stairs, which all followed the contour of the building.
“The stairs consisted of oak, matching the parquetry on the three levels, Stalford said. “To add a bit of visual change, the nosing on each stair consisted of a darker walnut. We’re very pleased with the final outcome.”
The awe-inspiring design of the NVMM by Allied Works Architecture was the result of a 2013 design competition that also included David Chipperfield and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The winning design theme included a curved ramp that wraps around the edge of the building and up to a rooftop plaza. There are large concrete arches crisscrossing the museum’s exterior to add more interest.
“It was an honor to contribute to this all-American project,” said Chris Hardsaw, sales manager of Lanham Hardwood Flooring. “We were pleased being able to provide Bostik’s outstanding high-performance adhesive for the 26,000 square feet of wood flooring. The NVMM is a statement of our nation’s appreciation to those who have served. We know that this particular flooring installation will last for a very long time, which makes us even prouder to be part of The National Veterans Memorial Museum construction project.”