At the Intersection of Green and AV
St. Louis -based architecture firm Arcturis was moving into new digs. Its 30,000-square-foot headquarters were to be a showcase both for meeting room design and sustainable technology. With help from integrator Conference Technologies, the new AV and control systems maximize the effectiveness of client and staff meetings, while their green design has helped the firm cut its energy use by as much as 40 percent. Learn more.
CHALLENGE: Help a St. Louis architectural firm showcase its technological leadership and LEED-accredited designers while facilitating a heavy meeting schedule.
SOLUTION: Design a green conference center with large screen displays and a control system that tie to a daylight harvesting system and other sustainable technologies.
How does a leading architectural firm approach AV and control technology when it builds a new headquarters for itself?
"We believe in technology and we think it's important," says Julie Finocchio, office manager for St. Louis-based Arcturis. "Our new space is a benchmark in many ways and shows how we can incorporate the best technology in our client designs as well as our own."
The firm's new offices, occupying 30,000 square feet of the Laclede Gas Building downtown, are a showcase both for meeting room design and various sustainable technologies. The new AV and control systems, according to Finocchio, maximize the effectiveness of client and staff meetings, while their green design has helped the firm cut its energy use by as much as 40 percent.
Buffy Flemming, senior marketing associate for Arcturis, adds that "sustainable best practices are a standard for us. We incorporate them into every project we work on." The firm has more than 20 LEED certified architects and designers on staff, many of whom had input into the new headquarter's design.
In creating the new space, Arcturis designers worked hard to use building materials and products that minimize stress on the environment while maximizing the health and comfort of employees.
One component of the plan was a daylight harvesting system in which sensors measure the amount of sunlight coming into each area, then adjust the electric lighting to maintain a target level. In addition, occupancy sensors turn lighting on only if a space is being used.
For daylight harvesting to make sense, the system's designers needed to maximize window light. Most of the new spaces have windows on one or two sides which are kept uncovered by blinds or draperies.
For that reason, Steve Reust of Conference Technologies, who was in charge of the AV systems design, recommended the use of flat panel displays wherever possible. Arcturis is an intense user of audiovisual systems, and CTI installed plasma or LCD displays in five of seven meeting spaces. In the other two rooms, careful placement of projection screens and the use of relatively bright projectors eliminated the need for window coverings.
Reust and CTI engineer Eric Snider also worked with Lighting Associates of St. Louis to interface the conference rooms' Crestron control systems and Crestron iLux lighting to the overall lighting design. Snider was also able to program the AV controls to automatically turn off projectors off when not in use. CTI of course used Energy Star components throughout the facility to limit energy use.
Room 207, set up boardroom-style with seating for 18 people, is a good example of how these efforts came together. First, to help address possible glare from the room's nearly floor to ceiling windows, CTI equipped it with two 65-inch flat-panel displays.
The setup is unusual in that each display is mounted at the opposite end of the conference table. "No matter which end of the table you're sitting on, you can see clearly," says Flemming, "even when someone puts up a screen with small numbers or text." Though the displays are most often configured to show the same visuals on both, it's easy to route different images to each instead.
Arcturis staff use Room 207 for many purposes, including board meetings, but the most important are client presentations and charrettes, where clients and architects collaborate on project design. "For example we were working on a project where we needed to change the floor plan," Flemming explains. "We had the existing plan on one screen, and a designer was making sketches on a laptop connected to the other screen to make the design fit within parameters."