Curved Shoji Panels & Curved Track

Architects: Pederson Wesley Beckett Stice

SSA New Center Headquarters, California

Installation: 3 curved panels, sliding as one unit on curved track. Panels disappear into curved side pocket.
This project, located in Southern California was our first encounter with making operable curved shoji panels. We also had to make curved track that the panels would slide on, as one large unit. Finally, they needed to stack neatly in a curved end pocket, completely out of sight.
As these shoji were covering sacred scrolls, they would be used frequently and needed to operate smoothly, easily and flawlessly.
Finally, they would be set over 3 feet off the floor, so they would have to be pulled from the lower edge of the end stile. The heaviness of the panels was actually a help here, because it kept the panels from riding up on one carrier as they were pulled open.
As we often do, we mocked up the site conditions in our shop, then tested, tested and tweaked the hardware until we could get it to work smoothly and reliably. It is always important to us to make the installation as simple as possible for the on site installer, so we preshim, preplane, or otherwise prefit as much as we can before anything leaves our shop.
To get the panels to go around the curve as one unit, Brian made special invisible hinges to interconnect them. The curved top and bottom tracks would have to be recessed into the wall unit so that all the shoji installation hardware would be hidden.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when the shoji installation went as planned. Our file on this job is an entire box of drawings, plans, samples, letters, mock-ups and thermal faxes, remember those? We are always in awe of the creative vision that drives these projects. Our thanks to PBWS for including us in this one!

Finish: Custom stain and lacquer to match curved wall
Insert: Semi-transparent synthetic
Grid: Fibonacci grid design per the architect