By Allison Tardif
May 29, 2020
With space at a premium, large organizations like corporate campuses and institutions of higher learning are designing more and more flexible spaces that can be used for multiple purposes. A well-designed AV installation in these spaces helps them transform to accommodate different uses and audiences.
The AVIXA AV Experience Award for Best Flexible Space Experience highlights AV applications that allow spaces to adapt to the different purposes and user needs. The four finalists illustrate how to use AV to maximize the flexibility of a space.
Last year, Amazon opened a massive campus in Hyderabad, India, to accommodate 15,000 employees and intended to foster inclusion, creativity, and greater innovation. The large cafeteria in the facility was designed as a flexible AV space to accommodate town halls, event production, team events, and broadcasts, as well as serving as the primary dining area.
A flexible AV system was designed to support events for up to 1,200 users in theater style seating with an additional 900 users in nearby spaces, as well as remote participation. The design also included thoughtful details like quiet zones configured for people to take quick phone calls. Since opening, the new space has been in high demand for events.
In 2019, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania completed two new collaborative learning classroom spaces to support the social media and public relations majors. Each space has four “pods” consisting of a 4K display, a centrally located wireless collaboration device earmarked for each pod, and the ability to route any piece of content in the room to any other display using matrix switching. Students can bring their own laptops, mobile devices, or use the instructor’s workstation. Changes in room configuration happen in real time via a single button press on the teacher’s podium.
Instructors can perform the station-based approach to learning by moving the “stations” via matrix switching at each pod rather than the students. This saves considerable time on common activities like peer-review of drafts. The rooms were also designed to allow for individual or small group use during non-class hours, giving students access to specialized software.
The Sports and Events Complex at Qatar University, opened in November 2019, combines multiple sports and event functionalities in a flexible space that contributes to a vibrant community life on campus.
The complex is comprised of multiple adaptable rooms surrounding an extensive multipurpose hall that can host ceremonial and staged events for an audience of 5,000; sporting events for 3,200; or banquets for 900. That flexibility is achieved through retractable seating, lighting, rigging, ceiling, suspended curtains, and a portable stage.
In addition, a smaller training hall can be divided into four separate training fields for volleyball, basketball, handball, and futsal and welcome an audience of 2,200. Finally, a multipurpose gym flexes between fitness, martial arts, and more with dynamic audio, IPTV, digital signage, and Bluetooth interfacing.
The Newsroom for the Department of Journalism at City, University of London was completed in May 2018. Adopting the ’Mentor in the Centre’ theory of pedagogy, the newsroom is laid out from a central hub, where the instructor is based. That desk connects with a touch-screen LCD display and control interface for all screens in the room. The space can provide content on multiple channels, integrating the complete news flow across print and digital media, from planning to production. The facility also includes informal areas for huddle activities, a videowall for live broadcast feeds, a green screen TV studio, and a radio studio with adjoining control room.
More and more organizations will be designing flexible multi-use spaces in the future and AV technology is poised to be an integral part of that trend.
The winners of the AV Experience Awards will be announced in June 2020, and they will join a virtual panel discussion during InfoComm 2020 Connected on Tues., June 16, to talk about the challenges and triumphs of their projects.