Southampton Solent University has invested £30m in a new multipurpose teaching facility, with Saville AV designing and installing AV technology and communication systems.
‘The Spark’, which opened in early 2016, is a five-storey atrium designed to provide the university with innovative teaching, events, and conferencing spaces. The centrepiece is the Pod, which includes a multipurpose presentation room with curved 12-screen portrait format videowall, it also features an open-topped viewing platform with views across the 18m-long atrium and into the parkland beyond.
Designed at the Hong Kong offices of international architects Scott Brownrigg, the Spark building contains cutting-edge teaching and learning facilities, including 35 classrooms, lecture theatres, interactive study spaces plus conference and exhibition space.
Director of ICT at SSU, Paul Colbran explained: “From early in the design stage our aspirations were to deliver a world class IT/AV experience that would promote the latest in learning technologies and an exceptional digital experience for students, staff and visitors, not just for when the building became operational but for future learners. Saville worked closely with our internal IT teams and consultants to not only ensure integration with our existing technology platforms but to also help us deliver a new standard for digitally enhanced pedagogy that has been well received by students and academic staff alike.”
The giant 36-screen atrium videowall provides a showcase of student work alongside digital signage content driven by Samsung MagicInfo. The digital audio infrastructure system was designed to facilitate use of the Atrium as a flexible, multi-functional space. Easy set-up and configuration of different scenarios is possible, via a digital mixing console and patch panel.
Most of the teaching spaces include 70in CleverTouch interactive displays with control systems located in bespoke lecterns. Larger teaching rooms also feature Barco Clickshare units plus ‘slave’ CleverTouch screens mounted on Peerless-AV height adjustable trolleys for maximum flexibility.
Located below ground level are the two main lecture theatres, the Jane Austen lecture theatre being a traditional raked seating design with contemporary styling, featuring a main projection screen. The Palmerston theatre is a Harvard-styled environment with the seating arranged in a horseshoe design to promote group working. Both theatres feature projection by Christie and Epson plus Hovercam Ultra8 visualisers and Extron touch control systems again with Barco Clickshare screen collaboration systems.
Dan Walker, Saville technical manager for the project concluded: “After completing a series of university installations during the previous year, we were particularly pleased to win this landmark new-build project. Our team handled all the challenges that a new-build presents to deliver professional solutions, achieving the University’s objective of providing a flagship new learning environment for the campus.”