Allen Hall Experience Hub
ABD Engineering & Design worked closely with PIVOT Architecture, and University of Oregon staff on the Allen Hall Experience Hub renovation. The facility is shared by different groups including: the School of Journalism and Communications, immersive media, games development, psychology and counseling, and traditional media faculty. The school demonstrated the need to replace the existing traditional broadcast studios with spaces for new and emerging media. ABD provided complete acoustical engineering for the broadcast studio, podcast studio, and editing suite, along with audiovisual design and AV infrastructure design throughout.
Tech-spaces included new broadcast suites, control room, podcast and webcasting, digital media editing in conjunction with surround audio mixing, and a social media lab with real-time analytics monitoring, as well as host UC/web-conferencing and streaming applications on a large video-wall. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality share space with collaborative games development. Common-area upgrades included the replacement of existing lobby signage, as well as a new wall-sized interactive display system to showcase significant alumni and donors.
Locating the broadcast studio adjacent to the building’s main lobby allowed for great visibility, but presented a challenge for appropriate acoustical separation. Floor-to-ceiling noise isolating windows provide visibility with quiet, but added too much reverberation in the studio. Flexible acoustic curtains can be drawn to solve the room acoustics when needed, or pulled aside for clear views into the production space. Likewise, adding a podcast studio and broadcast rooms required similar sound isolation and room acoustics, with critical attention given to reducing noise from the HVAC systems resulting in low background noise.
Delivering flexible high-tech spaces on a low-tech budget can be a project killer. ABD’s audio-video designers helped UO develop a concept budget for the spaces, and used that as the design-guide. ABD provided a strong physical infrastructure design to support the current and future audio and video needs. The AV infrastructure can support: flexible ad-hoc cabling, connectivity, cable routing, and more importantly – attachment points for VR lighthouses, tethers, antennae, sensors and even robotic cameras. Meanwhile, it allows for the rapid pace of change and replacement in VR/AR and social media environments, and supports the changing and flexible broadcast signal transport.
ABD worked within the university budget to design lower-cost options for high-impact items like the interactive video wall. The current hardware can be easily improved, replaced, and upgraded on the new infrastructure without structural or building modifications. The robust cabling plan relies on CAT6A/FUTP for video, audio, controls, and streaming. Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and high capacity fiber optics are used to tie-in all the studio and workshop spaces in the Experience Hub, and connect to existing campus networks.
When audiovisual consultants and acoustical consultants work side-by-side, their combined expertise is in play to solve problems with practical solutions, solid communications, and data-driven recommendations. ABD’s expert engineers and designers team-up on projects with each other, and with our clients, to create greater efficiency, and a better user-experience now and for years to come.