When you want your seat of education to stand out from the crowd, creating an audio-visual wonderland at your ‘front door’ is certainly one way to do it.
Griffith University, Queensland, has done just this with two Red Zone Visitor Experience Centres at their Gold Coast and Nathan Campuses. Designed to capture the attention of visitors and showcase the world class standards of the University, the completely red rooms absorb visitors and cocoon them in an audio-visual feast set on a curved backdrop of a sea of red.
Users have access to a variety of interactive touch screens, body activated music generators, 3D projection domes and more.
“The extensive Griffith brand red theme and surreal lighting design combine to create a space that blurs and dematerialises, leaving the screens and other exhibits to stand out in sharp focus against the red ‘landscape,’”
– explains Michael Bailey, Associate, Cox Rayner Architects.
“One of the main design challenges of this project was providing a unified red theme across all materials and finishes, and successfully integrating the highly specialised Audio visual equipment in a visually appealing manner.”
In addition to the red theme, the brief was to create a showcase area that would help to redefine and reinvent the Griffith University brand. This was done by using organic architectural curves and creating an acoustically balanced space for maximum beneficial use of all the AV equipment in the space.
To satisfy this aspect of the design, Cox Rayner, in conjunction with an acoustic consultant, specified Knauf Stratopanel on the ceilings, walls and bulkheads.
“We consulted with Knauf specialists when specifying Stratopanel, especially when it came to applying a finish to the product,” says Michael.
“We had originally planned to paint and fi nish the back fabric to provide a consistent finish as we wanted everything to be a red monotone. However, as this would affect the acoustic quality of the product we came around to the idea that the perforations added a textural relief that mimicked stars in the night sky. They blend and disappear to provide a slightly muted red surface from a distance (like the Milky Way), but when you get close up the white of the individual perforations shows through.”
The complexity of the design created challenges for Vealstruct, who had the task of installing the ceiling and wall panels.
“The wall and ceiling design was extremely complex with the majority of the walls, ceilings and bulkheads being curved,” says Robert Veale. “We were required to achieve some radius’s as tight as 400mm, we used Knauf 6.5mm CurveShield to achieve these curved walls and bulkheads. From set out to framing to the sheeting and setting, all aspects of the work were extremely complex.”
Although this was the first time that Vealstruct had used Stratopanel they were very pleased with the way it performed in the installation process and found the Knauf installation manual extremely useful and easy to follow.
By following all of the installation recommendations the installation process was smooth and created an excellent finished result.
“Knauf came and inspected our installation at framing, sheeting and setting stage,” says Robert. “We had some complex detailing around access panels and edge details to vertical bulkheads that they were able to help with.”
“The quality of the finish was the highlight of this project for us,”
– says Robert.
“This was a difficult plastering job, from set-out to framing, sheeting and setting our supervisors and tradesmen did a great job and should be proud of their efforts.”
Completed in April 2015, the finished project has received excellent feedback from visitors and students and is a well-used thought generating space.