Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Great Hall
The London offices for The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), One Moorgate Place, is a beautiful grade-II listed venue in the heart of the city. It has over 20 versatile rooms which can accommodate almost any event or conference, the largest and most impressive of which is the Great Hall.
The building comprises two parts, both of which fall under the Grade II listed building status. One dates from the 17th Century and has its original stained glass windows on display and stunning Victorian ceiling murals in the meeting rooms. This is linked by a marble stairway to the more contemporary building, erected in the 1960s, which contains the Great Hall.
Although a grade II listed building, ICAEW wanted to embrace the technical developments of the 21st Century and provide absolutely the best facilities for its event and conference customers. The Great Hall had three old XGA projectors beaming onto a stage backdrop with copper cabling and an Old Cue control system that desperately needed replacing.
Tall windows that stand 4m high and span the entire side of the Great Hall, were obscured by the old stage backdrop, which blocked all natural light coming into the room. English Heritage was keen that these, complete with their original wooden shutters, were uncovered as part of the refurbishment but this creates the challenge of an entire wall of windows to project towards. This meant it needed significantly brighter projectors.
IT/AV Infrastructure Manager at ICAEW
“The rooms were dated in terms of both décor and AV. Although the technology was functional, it was unreliable and prone to failure. We needed a major upgrade of our AV equipment, lighting and conferencing facilities across both buildings.
In designing the space we wanted to give customers the choice of whether they project across the whole 12 metres with the blinds closed or open the blinds and project onto a 5m screen.
The venue is hired for almost every type of event from political receptions and company launches to private functions – weddings and parties. So the brief for the refurbishment was to make this as flexible a space as possible to accommodate the widest range of events thereby increasing revenue and sales to get a higher return on this beautiful building.”
Due to sheer scale of the works and budget constraints the team needed a staged approach to the installation.
Visual communication specialists, ClearVC, which has worked with the ICAEW since 2011 when it implemented a videoconferencing system, installed the first phase in February 2016 – the control system.
The AV experts replaced the ageing Cue system with a Crestron AV3 processor with new HDBaseT transmitters and receivers. This gave ICAEW better control over the environment with less concerns over the serviceability of the room. The control user interface was delivered on an iPad using the Crestron App.
The three old NEC XGA resolution projectors in the Great Hall, which produced dim inconsistent imagery, were replaced with three Optoma ZU650 laser projectors. A further ZU650 was also installed in the Auditorium Council Chamber.
Then came the major refurbishment of the Great Hall. In just eight weeks the team replaced the floors, furniture and wall decoration. The old stage with its light-obscuring backdrop was removed and a full makeover with the latest AV equipment, lighting and conferencing facilities were installed.
Adrian Hancock, Managing Director at ClearVC, said: “We Installed the first Optoma ZU650 projectors and Crestron controller in a phased approach as the old models failed. Then, when it came time for the full refurbishment of the Great Hall, we reutilised these within the installation.”
The bank of three ZU650 laser WUXGA ProScene projectors were re-installed to project across a new 12m-wide fast-rolling electric extra-large Gerriets Megascreen. This allows the customer to have the flexibility to show three different images across the three screens or the same content across all.
Adrian commented: “The screen is 750kg. We had to have an additional steel mounted into the building to take the weight of it. But it is amazing. It drops in just a few seconds.”
A further 5m-wide electric screen was then installed for customers who want a smaller single projection with the blinds open. This called for an even brighter projector – so the team selected the 8,200-lumen Optoma ZU850 WUXGA laser projector.
The Crestron system was programmed to control the projectors over the LAN. The HDBaseT receivers were removed and the built-in HDBaseT input on the projectors receive the signals.
Two ZH400UST Full HD laser ultra short throw projectors were installed in portrait mode on both sides of the stage so clients can display either their logo or that of their sponsors during events. These are rear projected so no equipment is on display.
Martin said: “We chose these projectors due to their brightness, reliability and longevity. Optoma is a well-recognised UK brand and we had a tight budget to work with. Optoma gave us exactly what we needed within budget.”
Lifesize has been very well accepted by staff. Our staff members found the collaboration software and hardware reliable and easy to use. First-time users have been able to use the solution with minimal fuss, eliminating any hesitation when needing to use the system again.
Clear VC installed stage and architectural lighting with down lights to give ICAEW and its customers the ability to wall wash colours across the hall using amBX lighting server AND Studio Due light fittings.
Adrian explained: “This gives a choice of 256 million colours – so whichever colour the customer would like, the whole environment can feel the same. Brands can match their logo perfectly within the environment by taking a single pixel from the logo projected on the ZH400UST projector, and use this as the basis to colour match the room. It’s brilliant
Three Biamp Tesira Forte AVB digital signal processors and a replacement voice reinforcement system were added to accommodate any type of microphone and give event organisers more flexibility. Presenters can stand at the lecturn, roam free with a lapel mic or use the goose neck mics for a top table type event. The lecturn location can be moved to one of three different positions and can be simply plugged in where the customer wants to use it.
For people with hearing disabilities, Clear VC installed IR listen induction loops. These use a lanyard rather than requiring the institute to lift the floor at this time. Martin said: “The feedback we have had from people who have used these lanyards is that the user experience is much better because it is their personal lanyard.”
Videoconferencing facilities, the last part of the jigsaw, were installed in March 2018 with LifeSize Icon 800 Videoconferencing equipment and Vaddio RoboTrak cameras. Presenters can walk around the hall wearing a special lanyard and the camera will follow the speaker wherever they are, which will then be transmitted through the videoconferencing system.
With multiple inputs throughout the room and three locations for the lecturn in the Great Hall, a Crestron 16×16 Digital Media matrix allows signals to be switched swiftly and simply. Fibre optic out from this can transmit whatever is being shown in the Great Hall to the auditorium for an extended event or to the Tripleplay server which is then able to broadcast throughout the entire building and even to the ICAEW headquarters in Milton Keynes.
It also connects into the Lifesize Icon 800 videoconferencing system which has a Lifesize Cloud for global deployment enabling ICAEW to broadcast whatever takes place in the Great Hall anywhere in the world, instantly.
As well as the 20mx20m Great Hall and the 120-seat council chamber style Auditorium, One Moorgate Place has 21 standard meeting rooms. Every one of them now has exactly the same user experience. They each have a Crestron touchscreen and a Lifesize Icon video conferencing system connecting to a display. Room booking panels are powered by Crestron and Fusion servers that allows ICAEW to see and book the meeting rooms.”
Adrian said: “We wanted this consistency for users throughout the whole venue. Using Crestron digital media for video switching, control and lighting provides this continuity across all rooms.
“We also needed to ensure that whatever we put in kept the tone of this historic building. All equipment had to be sensitively selected to fit. This meant balancing not only the technological and user requirements but also English Heritage’s requirements.”
IT/AV Infrastructure Manager at ICAEW
“This growth in both bookings and revenue is a direct result of the enhancements that have been made. Clients that have been here before are amazed at the transformation and new clients are loving it and re-booking. ICAEW is a world-class membership organisation. We now have the facilities that reflect this status that we can be proud of.
Clear VC knows the building and how we work. The team is agile and willing to adjust, which is important as unforeseen difficulties tend to crop up when you work in a listed building – even with surveys. They worked closely with English Heritage to ensure the installation was in keeping with this Grade II listed building but delivered the technology what we needed both to time and to budget.”
The Great Hall has been transformed into a modern versatile space for events and conferences with state-of-the-art AV technology.
Since the refurbishment was completed bookings have gone up by 16% and revenue has increased by 27%.
Clear VC has worked with the ICAEW for over six years and was named as the ‘stand-out’ contractor in this complex installation. Adrian commented: “One Moorgate Place is easily accessible from Moorgate, Bank and Liverpool Street stations, the location is fantastic, the history of the building is unparalleled and some of the rooms will take your breath away. It’s worth a visit just to see this amazing historic building.”