"A 360-degree environment allows a speaker to engage more closely with the audience." The Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Healthcare is all about collaboration to create positive health outcomes. The Alliance’s new 150,000 square foot Health Futures Center provides plenty of space and opportunity for collaboration between Mayo and ASU researchers while giving students the opportunity for hands-on research and training.
Collaboration was also a key component in providing AV solutions for the Center, especially in a 300-person auditorium dedicated to continuing education, presentations, and events.
"The goal for the facility was to create a flexible, comfortable setting for presentations on the latest developments in healthcare, medical education and public programs,” said ASU associate vice president Rick Naimark in a Planar-produced case study on the project. “Our president visited other universities, which have in-the-round lecture facilities, and he really liked the way a 360-degree environment allows a speaker to engage more closely with the audience. We took that idea and made some modifications." The space was designed in a “theatre in the round” style to allow for TED Talks-style presentations. Plans called for four faceted Planar® TVF Series LED video walls. Each 8x8 video wall is roughly 16-feet-wide by 9-feet-high, with a 2.5mm pixel pitch. The video walls are concave to match the curved walls of the space.
“Wall-mounting a single faceted video wall is extremely challenging,” said Kevin Barlow, CTS-D, director of business development for Draper®. “Try doing four in one room, and then try that when they are on the upper level of a two-story circular lecture hall, with no floor support available.”
The first problem was that walls built by general contractors typically can’t match the architect’s design within the tight tolerances required for narrow pixel pitch dvLED technology. Spinitar asked Draper® to design and manufacture tailored mounts with enough flexibility to overcome that issue—but not too much adjustability. “Too much adjustability can create a nightmare for the installation techs,” Barlow said. “It really is one of those ‘part-art, part-science’ balancing acts, and Draper® is very good at making difficult elements like this much simpler.”
In the end, the efforts of Draper, Planar, and Spinitar paid off, with a finished auditorium that will provide a peak experience for audiences and presenters alike. “The curved video walls are sized appropriately to provide a full experience, yet not be overwhelming or too busy,” Naimark said. “Video content on the video walls is just spectacular—it’s a great way to bring presentations to life. We are planning to use the space for all kinds of different events.” In addition to the large auditorium space, the Health Futures Center contains research and collaboration space, wet and dry labs, a movement lab, learning studios, classrooms, a simulation lab to provide a real- world environment for learners, and much more. Many of those learning spaces also include Draper® projection screens with TecVision®® ambient light rejecting viewing surfaces. This choice was made to fit in with the collaborative nature of the environment. “In these areas you have students and instructors working together, sharing information, and they need the lights on,” said Steve Cook, consultant relations manager for Draper®. “Fortunately, with the development of screen surfaces with ALR properties, you can do that and avoid the extremely washed-out images of the past.”