CW Keller: Architectural Firm Ahead of the Curve
By Karen Koenig | Posted: 08/07/2013 4:23PM
Architectural components with curve appeal. It’s just one of the many factors that distinguish the projects manufactured by CW Keller & Associates.
Founded in 1974, CW Keller is a full-service manufacturer, with an emphasis on 3D modeling and digital fabrication. “Our ability to create with complex geometry sets us apart,” says company President Shawn Keller. Among its notable projects incorporating complex curve geometry are Boston-based C Change and Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis.
“Our focus has always been on architectural woodworking; however our perspective of the boundaries of the industry is probably wider than many,” Keller adds.
A diverse manufacturer, to produce its range of architectural components, fixtures and furniture, CW Keller uses FSC-certified solid wood, CARB II-compliant composite panels and hardwood plywood such as ApplePly. Also used are solid surface materials, fiberglass and pre-cast concrete as interior design elements and concrete forms.
“As architects and designers continue to push the envelope with creative uses of materials, we find it more and more important that we educate our team on the uses of these materials to stay competitive,” Keller adds.
With 30 or more projects in progress at any one time, the 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Plaistow, NH, stays busy, says company founder Charles Keller.
“We’re currently 90 percent booked through next spring,” adds Shawn.
Architectural millwork, casework and furniture comprise 55 percent of CW Keller’s work; 25 percent of these projects are institutional, with the remaining divided equally between commercial and residential.
That’s where the similarity with other architectural woodworking firms ends. The remaining 45 percent of CW Keller’s work is comprised of concrete forms for cast-in-place construction (25 percent), concrete forms for interior pre-cast elements (10 percent) and solid surface/fiberglass projects (10 percent).
“What’s typical for CW Keller is atypical for others,” says Charles.
The company works with architects and designers, assisting in the design phase as well as the building of models. A sustainable manufacturer, almost all projects which CW Keller bids have a LEED component, Shawn adds.
Projects run the gamut from a small, single structure or single piece of Ply furniture, to entire rooms. “Some can be six weeks, some 60 weeks,” Charles says.
About the Author
Karen M. KoenigKaren M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Google+.