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AV


audio/video
methodology

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AV


audio/video
methodology

Audio/Video

Audio and video technologies that were once primarily in the realm of performance venues are now pervasive in our everyday experience. In performance spaces, we seek the highest quality of experience that delivers power, fidelity, and nuance. Whether the technology itself is part of the show or subordinated to an immersive experience, the quality and clarity of sound and video is paramount.

On a smaller scale, connecting people through audio and video continues to evolve. Museums have become interactive, libraries social and kinetic, living rooms public, theatres and classrooms conversational, and distance near-field. Society drives these changes forward faster than it can really keep up with them, often using technology bluntly, accepting low standards, and sometimes forgetting what it means to be together in a thoughtful space.

Thoughtful rooms for presentation and conversation must now succeed as both rooms and venues, as places for first-person presentation of ideas as well as their capture for distribution or collaboration at a distance. They thus have theatrical demands – lighting, acoustics, AV technology, even basic arrangement of the participants – that are not necessarily obvious at a programmatic level but must nevertheless be considered holistically, as architecture, if the objective is natural, effective, present conversation, near or far, with technology a window rather than a barrier.

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Highlighted AV Projects


Case Studies

Highlighted AV Projects


Case Studies

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Case Study: al wasl, expo 2020

Location: Dubai, UAE
Construction: new construction
Completion Date: est. 2020
Size: 142,866 square feet

Audio/Video features:

The Al Wasl Plaza is an enormous immersive performance venue at the heart of the 2020 World Expo grounds in Dubai. The Plaza features a 130-meter diameter, 65-meter tall, dome trellis over a lush garden space. Fabric stretched in the trellis panels shields visitors from the intense sun and becomes a massive projection surface at night. Projectors and loudspeakers concealed in the trellis can surround concert audiences in the tens of thousands with images and powerful sound during concerts and generate atmospheric effects on quieter nights.

Threshold designed the plaza’s audio system which comprises six large-format line arrays and six subwoofer arrays which fire inward towards the center of the plaza from the perimeter trellis. This system provides immersive audio playback and public announcements during the day (when the use of the projection system is impractical). At night, the audio system is tied to the immersive projection shows designed by Obscura Digital, which employ approximately 130 45,000-lumen 4k projectors to create the images on the trellis fabric. Threshold also designed the infrastructure to support high-energy concerts in the plaza, equipment for which will be rented and deployed to support the needs of each individual act.


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Case Study: navy pier polk brothers performance lawns

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Construction: new construction
Completion Date: 2017
Size: Lake Stage - 1,700 guests, City Stage - 700 guests

Audio/Video features:

Chicago’s vibrant lakefront is now the home of two new seasonal outdoor performance spaces. The Performance Lawns, located to the south of the main entrance to Navy Pier, are part of an ongoing revitalization effort for one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations.

The house audio systems for the Lake Stage consist of two tour-grade, medium-format line array systems with subwoofers. Two point-source loudspeakers, mounted to theatrical lighting polls, are used to fill the furthest extents of the Lake Lawn seating area while going easy on nearby residential and office towers. Point source loudspeakers permanently mounted on lighting polls provide sound reinforcement for the smaller, City Stage. Both stages are served by a common AV control position and common amplifier room. Our design included two portable large-format digital mixing consoles (to be used for front of house and monitor mixes), a complement of portable stage-monitors, and microphone package that will accommodate most touring acts.

A portable LED wall is used for movie screenings, and as a canvas for image magnification and dynamic performance backdrops.


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Case Study: University of iowa, hancher auditorium

Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Construction: new construction
Completion Date: 2016
Size: 1,800-seat

Audio/Video features:

The University of Iowa’s new 1,800-seat Hancher Auditorium serves a vibrant program of music, dance, and theatrical performances produced by University groups, community organizations, and touring professionals. A Left/Center/Right audio system provides comprehensive sound reinforcement for house-produced events, while a rider-friendly line array system serves the needs of traveling productions. Basic video presentations utilize a permanent front projector and large lace-and-grommet screen. Portable kit accommodates advanced scenic projection as well.

Strauss Hall, a flexible theatre, rehearsal room, and event space is equipped with portable audio and video equipment and interconnectivity with the main hall, allowing it to function as an overflow space or to host complementary programming. Presentations and music performances can take place in the lobby as well, where digital signage doubles as a latecomer video display during events. A recording studio for the School of Music can receive live feeds from the Auditorium and Strauss Hall for professional multitrack recording.

During a months-long commissioning process, we worked closely with the production staff to help them make use of systems that expanded technical capabilities far beyond those of their original facility. Close communication continues as Hancher’s palette of productions diversifies, supported by an enthusiastic community of students, patrons, and performers.


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Case Study: poetry foundation

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Construction: new construction
Completion Date: 2010
Size: 35,000 square feet

Audio/Video features:

Completed in 2011, the Poetry Foundation building in Chicago houses curatorial and executive staff, publishing staff for Poetry Magazine, and an extensive library. It also boasts a 125-seat reading room with superb acoustics for speech and sufficient flexibility to serve as a banquet and seminar room as well as a speech-oriented recording studio.  

An array of microphones and distributed loudspeakers above an acoustically transparent, stretched fabric ceiling gently ‘lifts’ soft-spoken voices for certain readings and presentations without any visible technology at all. The voicelift system is further supported by wireless and wired microphones, a motorized video projection screen, and teleconferencing system, allowing the room to function more broadly as a multimedia performance space as well as a location for the board of directors to conduct their regular meetings.

We remain involved with the Poetry Foundation to support regular maintenance of the audio and video systems, advising on how to accommodate an expanding range of performers and events, and helping to plan for future improvements and upgrades as the building moves into the latter part of its first decade.