NEC Display Solutions Customer Installation Education
University of Kent
Seamlessly blending Old with New
Respect for the architecture and heritage of an historic building need not suppress its potential to fulfil the needs of a modern audience. Close collaboration and an adaptable approach has resulted in the provision of a flexible auditorium kitted out with the latest audio visual resources within the atmospheric nineteenth century Royal Dockyard Church.
The Kent Business School (KBS) at The University of Kent’s Medway Campus opened in September 2015 after a £3.8 million investment in the development of the Historic Dockyard Campus. A significant increase in student enrolments has required the development of new academic facilities and social spaces, leading the University to cooperate with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust to create a teaching and learning centre specifically designed to meet the needs of KBS students. The University agreed a 25 year lease of the Royal Dockyard Church with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.
As a listed building of considerable historic importance, it is crucial that any developments respected the venue’s heritage, this being fundamental to the entire process. After a robust tender process, AV Integrator and NEC Partner, CDEC, was selected to fit out the new auditorium within the Church with a full-range of audio visual equipment. “The tender was successful as CDEC understood the constraints of fitting equipment in an historic building and were sensitive to the goals and aspirations of both the University and the Dockyard trust,” says Toni Barnett, Managing Director for CDEC.
The challenge was to create a flexible and adaptable space that respects the architecture and heritage of the building whilst providing students with the facilities required for a range of services, from a lecture auditorium to a space for rehearsals, fine art exhibits and concerts.
Central to the audio visual solution designed by CDEC is an NEC PH1400U 3-Chip WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution installation projector. The church is at times flooded with light but even during periods of high ambient light the combination of ultra-high brightness and 10-bit Integrated Device Technology HQV™ (Hollywood Quality Video) signal processing, the projected image is sharp and strong. Projecting onto a 7m wide projection screen, students can enjoy an unrivalled visual experience.
“CDEC chose the NEC PH1400U projector for the University of Kent project due to its impressive high resolution picture quality and brightness levels; the flexible zoom ratio was also an important factor. The projector was easy to install even in the challenging venue where we had to work closely with The Dockyard Trust and English Heritage,” says Toni Barnett. “Since the building is going to be used for multiple purposes it is important for the projector to be suitable for heavy duty usage and have excellent connectivity, including multiple networking, analogue and HDMI ports. The projector’s innovative DisplayPort terminal ensures ease of use for both staff and students."
CDEC designed a simple and easy to use interface which hides the extremely complex system behind it, ensuring that even someone with no IT knowledge can easily carry out a presentation. The system is controlled and programmed via an Extron touch panel on the lectern.
Toni concludes: “The fitting of the equipment was challenging due to the listed nature of the building so we worked in collaboration with the estates management, English Heritage and the Dockyard Trust to ensure that the project did not compromise the integrity of the building and to consider each element and offer alternatives and solutions to problems. The project has exceeded expectations and provided KBS with a much needed space where heritage has blended seamlessly with new technology and AV innovation.”