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Engineering Harmonics Named a Winner of ARCHI-TECH AV Award

Toronto's Engineering Harmonics has been named a recipient of the eighth annual ARCHI-TECH AV Award for the integration of outstanding architectural design and advanced audio-visual technology in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, TX. Also named as a co-winner of the award is Clair Brothers, the systems integrator, and Foster + Partners, architect.

"It is an honor to be named for our work in connection with this landmark project, and we are gratified that the innovative design of the audio-visual system has been recognized and acclaimed in the awarding of this esteemed prize," said Philip Giddings, president of Engineering Harmonics Inc. Sponsored by Archi-Tech and announced June 9 in Las Vegas at InfoComm by the International Communications Industries Association, Inc. (ICIA), the Archi-Tech AV Awards program honors outstanding examples of the creative and effective integration of technology into nonresidential buildings.

"The Archi-Tech AV Awards program showcases the quality of the products and the firms involved in creating these award-winning audiovisual projects," said Leah Garris, managing editor, Archi-Tech. "These winning entries represent the pinnacle of design, functionality, and technological achievement," said Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., executive director, InfoComm International.

Designed by Foster + Partners under Pritzker Prize-winning architect Norman Foster, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas was engineered specifically for performances of opera and musical theatre. Its stages have been designed and equipped with appropriate flooring for performances of ballet and other forms of dance.

A 21st-century reinterpretation of the traditional "horseshoe" opera house, the Winspear Opera House's principal performance space is the 2,200-seat Margaret McDermott Performance Hall, featuring retractable screens, a spacious fly-tower, and variable acoustics designed by acoustician Bob Essert of Sound Space Design.

Completed in October 2009 at a cost of some $150 million, the Winspear Opera House was praised by The New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini for its exceptional combination of "richness and resonance" and its bright, clear sound.

Bill Winspear, who donated $43 million to the project, insisted that the new house be first and foremost for opera, with other kinds of performance, such as dance and touring shows, taking second place. Essert aimed for a warm, voluptuous sound best suited for the mainstream 18th- and 19th-century operas featured by the Dallas company, with variable acoustics being incorporated into the hall to support performances of musical theatre and other events requiring the use of a performance sound system. Engineering Harmonics has gained a well deserved reputation for designing performance sound systems that integrate amplified shows into the prized natural acoustics of concert and opera halls.

Working in collaboration with Theatre Projects Consultants, theatre design consultant for the Winspear Opera House, Engineering Harmonics provided its unique blend of design, consulting, process management, and attention to detail that has been acclaimed in its contributions to the Michael and Sonja Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, the Overture Center in Madison, WI, and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, among many other facilities.

This is the second time that Engineering Harmonics has been honored with an AV Archi-Tech Award. The firm previously won in 2004 for excellence in audio-visual design in the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.


(15 June 2010)

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