“When we were thinking of architecturalizing the A/V components,” Rossant says, “we wanted to have all the gizmos visible in the Collaborative Media Room.” As a result, 42-inch Sony television monitors line the room, computers are accessible, and cameras and other supporting equipment are out, ready to be used.

“It's an Apple shop,” O'Mara explains. “We have 30 iMac workstations with new Intel processors that enable us to use any piece of software there is,” he adds. That software includes Garageband for editing audio, Final Cut Express for editing video, and Microsoft Office to edit text, among others.

Polshek worked closely with New York–based A/V and acoustical consulting firm, Cerami & Associates. The school took the lead, defining its A/V needs and selecting and specifying equipment. Cerami consulted on those decisions, confirming compatibility between different systems and documenting specifications. The firm also played a key role toward ensuring the room's acoustic performance.

  • Thirty Apple iMacs are stationed throughout the Collaborative Media Room, each with the capacity to generate and edit print, audio, and video as the students' assignments require.

    Credit: Matt Greenslade

    Thirty Apple iMacs are stationed throughout the Collaborative Media Room, each with the capacity to generate and edit print, audio, and video as the students' assignments require.

As in all buildings with photo-sensitive contents, managing the transmission of daylight into the space was an important concern. The architects wanted to bring in abundant daylight suitable for filming and create a transparent and hospitable environment for busy students. But this had to be balanced with concerns for the equipment's longevity.

According to Rossant, “transparency and visibility was necessary, since we wanted to make sure students in the room remain visibly part of the community and part of the world.” But, he cautions, “light is not a friend to A/V.”

Polshek called for a number of measures to address this challenge. The first amendment is etched on the glass façade: The frit pattern is not just ornamental, since it accounts for 50 percent of the window's surface, thereby mitigating damaging rays. For additional protection, a fabric shade system can be lowered electronically by those inside the room.

Perhaps the most significant change to communications since Pei's time is the lack of confinement. Reporters in remote locations can file stories on a handheld device. Everything in the Collaborative Media Room is networked. Electronically linked to television studios, editing facilities, and classrooms around the campus, the room itself picks up a symbolic meaning. Rossant says, “The architecture of the room gives it energy, makes it a theater, and turns it into a collaborative learning experience.” .

Specs

  • Television screens 5 Sony Bravia 42-inch LCD televisions, model number KDL-46S3000, sony.com
  • Sound system 2 Sony playback/recording decks, model number HVR-M15U, and 1 Sony playback/recording deck, model number HVR-M25U, sony.com
  • Video recording 1 Sony camera, model number BRC-300, sony.com
  • Printing 2 Hewlett Packard 5550dtn color laser-jet printers, hp.com
  • Computers 30 Apple iMac 2.16 GHZ 24-inch computers with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 250GB hard drives, and 2GB RAM, apple.com
  • Software Each computer is loaded with a complete suite of software, including Adobe CS3 Suite and Adobe Font Folio (adobe.com), Microsoft Office (office.microsoft.com), FinalDraft Scriptwriter's Suite (finaldraft.com), Sound Slides (soundslides.com), Garageband (garageband.com), and Final Cut Express (apple.com/finalcutexpress).

  • Thirty Apple iMacs are stationed throughout the Collaborative Media Room, each with the capacity to generate and edit print, audio, and video as the students' assignments require.

    Credit: Matt Greenslade

    Thirty Apple iMacs are stationed throughout the Collaborative Media Room, each with the capacity to generate and edit print, audio, and video as the students' assignments require.
Project Credits

Client: Syracuse University
Architect: Polshek Partnership Architects, New York—Tomas J. Rossant (design partner); Duncan R. Hazard (management partner); Steven C. Peppas (project manager); Craig Mutter, Hans P. Walter (project architects); Katharine A. Huber (interiors); Richard M. Olcott, James S. Polshek, Stefan Abel, Gary L. Anderson, James Bennett, Po-Ku Chen, Jennifer Dubas, Amber Foo, Joerg A. Kiesow, Dean Kim, Han Kim, John LaBombard, Jane P. Lin, Hanson Liu, Mimi Madigan, Kate Mann, Megan A. Miller, Si-Yeon Min, Allison H. Reeves, James Rhee, Alan D. Slusarenko, Gregory L. Smith, Daniel R. Stube (project team)
Consultants: Severud Associates (structural); Peterson Engineering, P.C. (MEP/FP/elevator); Brandston Partnership (lighting); Quennell Rothschild & Partners (landscape); Cerami & Associates (acoustics, A/V); Two Twelve Associates (graphics); Poulin + Morris (donor recgnition/exhibition design); Wolf & Company (cost estimating); LZA Technology/Thornton Tomasetti Group (waterproofing); R.A Heintges & Associates (curtainwall); Hughes Associates (code); Stearns & Wheeler (civil); Robert Schwartz & Associates (specifications); J.D. Taylor Construction (construction manager) http://architect.hotims.com