The construction of a state-of-the-art performance facility requires numerous considerations when it comes to acoustics, and the construction techniques that are used to build these structures can be elaborate. The Westbrook Music Building project on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus is a prime example of this.

The wall construction details on this project include items such as CMU walls with metal studs on both sides, walls with 4 to 5 layers of drywall, “battered” walls which taper from bottom to top to divert sound, resilient connections at the top and bottom of walls to prevent metal-to-metal contact and minimizing penetrations in the walls to reduce sound distribution between spaces.

In addition to building acoustically sensitive walls, the Westbrook project also had to contend with building large rehearsal and performance spaces within a congested active campus footprint and amongst a myriad of underground utilities. The Hausmann management team along with our experienced self-perform concrete crew were able to take this challenge head on and accomplish it efficiently using some innovative techniques.

In June 2023, Hausmann began construction on the 50’ tall x 14’ wide double mat walls that would become the rehearsal space and performance hall. Typically, this size of wall would be constructed in several lifts due to the weight of the concrete and the complexity of the form work required, but the Hausmann team along with Dr. David Lange developed a plan for pouring these walls in a single pour. Several factors were taken into consideration such as using a modified concrete mix to reduce pressure of the forms, the rate at which it could be poured, and how to properly place and vibrate the concrete.

During the pour, the team placed sensors throughout various points of the forms to measure the pressure as additional concrete was placed. The readings from these sensors helped determine that the concrete could be placed up to 12’ high per hour. Within that hour, the team could pour 90 LF of wall. At that point, they could go back to the beginning and start pouring the next 12’ section. The lower section of concrete had cured enough that it prevented the weight of the additional concrete from applying any pressure to the forms allowing them to place approximately 160 cubic yards of concrete in 6 hours. The lessons learned on this first pour were applied to the remaining large wall pours on site, and by the time they completed the last pour, preparation time decreased from 4 weeks to only 2.5 weeks. The reduction in prep time not only helped to accelerate the schedule, but also helped to reduce the cost.

The innovation and hard work of the Hausmann team at Westbrook not only provided a huge benefit to this project, but also opened the door for more efficient and complex concrete application opportunities on future projects.

The Westbrook Music Building celebrated it’s continued success with a Topping Out Ceremony in February and is scheduled for completion in 2025.