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Acoustics & 3D architectural design in volume Project : American Geophysical Union (AGU) Headquarters - Washington DC


CLIPSO, known worldwide for its expertise and innovative, high- performance and environmentally friendly technical performance, was chosen by the architectural firm Hickok Cole to carry out an ambitious project for the renovation of the headquarters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a major international non-profit scientific association located in Washington DC.

3D multifaceted volume

Un volume en 3D aux nombreuses facettes

The versatility of the CLIPSO system, the SO ACOUSTIC & SO AERO coverings ranges and the know-how of all the people involved made it possible to achieve the architect’s main objective: to create a multifaceted 3D volume in a specific deep blue color, dotted with fiber-optic lighting. The result is a unique space that looks like a vast starry vault, a symbol of the AGU’s geophysical mission.

An ambitious project!

Un ouvrage ambitieux !

Using highly technical profiles, the CLIPSO design office has created a fully customizable range. SO AERO offers multiple shapes and sizes that adapt perfectly to all types of environments and configurations, from standard frames to custom-made frames for the most complex projects. Light, sturdy and discreet, these aluminum profiles can be installed suspended, on the ceiling, on the wall or in an island.


In this project, the profiles cover the upper part of the main staircase and the ceiling of the top floor. They were fixed to a wood and metal substructure based on a CLIPSO workshop drawing and then manufactured on site by the US approved installer: Fabric Wall Concepts.

800 sqm of SO ACOUSTIC 495 D technical solution was required.


The structural framework had to be rigid enough not to deform throughout the rather complex installation process of all the adjacent surfaces. The biggest challenge was to achieve a clean fabric edge when up to six pieces of profile (10mm thick white P-CC) intersect at a single point on several different levels.

800 sqm of SO ACOUSTIC 495 D technical solution was required to cover the entire framework. The covering was printed with a specific RAL, highly pigmented to obtain a deep blue with a brilliant sheen, into which fiber- optic lighting was integrated.

CLIPSO has designed a micro-perforated fabric that promotes sound absorption: SO ACOUSTIC. Combined with a polyester fleece, this covering offers excellent acoustic performance with the possibility of printing and light integration in a single covering.

The architectural firm and AGU also chose CLIPSO because of its contribution to environmental objectives. The brand’s technical solutions are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), reusable and recyclable. CLIPSO has obtained the A+ and GreenGuard Gold 2018 certifications.

Another advantage is that CLIPSO products are installed at room temperature. A fast, simple, clean, nuisance-free and odor-free process for a perfect result.

A very conclusive result praised by all the players

A long and rather tedious process that the American installation team was able to carry out successfully. The aesthetic rendering of this celestial escape path, the acoustic performance and the efficient and meticulous implementation brought total satisfaction to all the players and stakeholders.

«The aim of the project was to create a multi-faceted stretched fabric ceiling above the monumental staircase. The architect imagined that one could look up to a cluster of stars on the horizon, emblematic of the owner’s geophysical mission. We are delighted to have achieved this. David Brower, (function) Fabric Wall Concepts.

CLIPSO produced the project drawings and shipped the coverings and profiles to their warehouse and assembly facility in the USA. CLIPSO is the only French manufacturer to design, manufacture, print and distribute all of its products, including profiles, internationally. Fabric Wall Concepts manufactured the structural skeleton, cut and assembled the fabric and integrated the lighting.

Project: American Geophysical Union (AGU) – Washington DC
Implementation: Fabric Wall Concepts
Photo credit: AGU Professional Photos

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