When The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries began construction on its new Center for Environmental Innovation and Education (CEIE) it called upon Big Show Construction Management (BSCM) to engineer, fabricate and install the audio, video and control systems.
The CEIE is the Institute's primary education and outreach facility and the first on its campus at Denning's Point on the Hudson in Beacon, New York. It is home to the Institute's flagship REON (River and Estuary Observatory Network) initiative, a join effort between The Beacon Institute, IBM and Clarkson University to create an integrated network of environmental sensors throughout the 315-mile length of the Hudson River to monitor physical, chemical and biological changes in the river in realtime.
The facility, designed by the leading global design, planning and strategic consulting firm Gensler in a late 19th century masonry structure, is an example of adaptive reuse. Primarily consisting of one large Main Space that serves many purposes "it needed to be reconfigurable for screening movies, videoconferencing, holding lectures and hosting live events," explains BSCM's Billy Kneissl who served as systems engineer on the project. "The control system for the facility was necessarily complex, but we were charged with making it easy to reconfigure not only the furnishings but the technology: speakers, screens, microphones, cameras and more."
In fact, BSCM was brought in to design a control system after other companies gave the Institute the impression they couldn't deliver what it required. "It's probably the most complex system we've designed," Kneissl says. "We created a series of user-friendly touchscreens that can be mounted in a podium or onto handheld wireless devices. They control the Main Space's lighting, window shades, projectors, screens, the audio volume levels of all rooms, the Surround sound and overhead speaker systems, videoconferencing, DVD playback, satellite TV broadcast and the room configuration."
In addition, special or recurring functions can be scheduled to happen automatically on a daily or weekly basis. "The touchscreens are simple and intuitive to operate in order to accommodate the wide range of people using the rooms," notes Kneissl. "There is even a special translator's booth that can provide live translations of movies, presentation and conference calls through a wireless headset system."
BSCM's Rachel Crowl designed the touchscreens and performed most of the programming for the control system. The company supplied a new-to-the-market Pharos system for programming lighting; pre-set lighting cues were defined by lighting designer BearFly Designs.
About Big Show Construction Management
Specializing in managing the creation of themed and interactive spaces, Big Show Construction Management (BSCM) has expertise in the design, integration and installation of multimedia environments. The company coordinates the desires of clients and architects with the practical concerns of the general contractor. BSCM's clients include Audi; Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas; Madame Tussaud's, New York City; Sony Wonder Technology Lab, New York City; Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant in New York City; and Toys 'R Us, New York City. For more information on BSCM call 212-206-6443 or visit www.bigshowcm.com.