Rhodes House has been an Oxford landmark since 1929
UK - Since its opening in 1929, Rhodes House has been an Oxford landmark, a historic Grade II listed country house in the heart of the city. Known for high profile events and visitors, the need for modernisation was recognised and the venue embarked on a comprehensive £38m refurbishment journey, which culminated in creating a technologically advanced modern conference and convening centre, that fosters connectivity and collaboration.
Darren Gatenby, senior consultant at Hewshott Consultancy, has been lead technology consultant on the project since its inception five years ago. The goal was to establish the premier events and conferencing venue in Oxford, catering to educational events, weddings, and corporate functions. Darren closely collaborated with the client and stakeholders to meticulously craft a design that fulfilled all requirements.
Incorporating a number of different spaces, the venue comprises the main 280-seat convening hall plus a number of smaller rooms and a garden pavilion. Darren comments: “Originally the rooms were essentially echo tunnels, the challenge was to address the acoustic issues within these spaces, making a robust audio infrastructure that was infinitely flexible, scalable and expandable across the spaces imperative.”
Hewshott put the extensive project to tender, with leading AV solutions provider GVAV, awarded the contract. Stuart Harris, technical sales manager at GVAV who, in consultation with Audiologic, specified a comprehensive Q-SYS ecosystem.
This system centred around 16 x NV-32 H core capable software configurable video endpoints with four TSC Touch Screen Controllers, AD-C6T speakers and Q-SYS PTZ cameras was specified, integrated with Shure MXA710 and 910 ceiling microphones, SM58 and WL185 handheld and lapel microphones, and Yamaha VXL1B line array speakers.
Q-SYS forms the backbone of the conference centre's technology infrastructure. Its modern architecture and development tools facilitate seamless integration with third-party partners' solutions, providing a versatile and cohesive ecosystem.
The main Convening Hall, flexible to be divided into three separate areas, is equipped with Shure MXA microphones and front/rear cameras, allowing versatile configurations with multiple screens, excellent acoustic properties and easy to use control panels. Smaller meeting rooms have full controllable audio with NEC large format screens, running bars, logitech scribes and taps with roommate PC running Zoom rooms.
The Garden Pavilion fully glazed meeting space, with camera technology built-in, has Shure MXA 710 microphones built in to front, Q-SYS touch panel for control of the space and a large format display.
Despite delays caused by the restoration project's scope, the resulting evolution of the brief and technology enhancements proved advantageous, following the latest trends and technology, as equipment became more available post pandemic.
On the decision of choosing Q-SYS, Darren explains: “The aim was to find the optimal solution, and AVoIP was a no-brainer. QSC was a contender from early on, and with the delays we saw the Q-SYS ecosystem evolve, with the cores developing, the NV technology and the way the system communicates with the cameras and the controls, it became the perfect fit. The Q-SYS ecosystem is now the system of choice across many of our projects, due to its seamless flexibility.”
Efthymios (Tim) Chatzigiannis, AV manager at The Rhodes Trust praised Q-SYS’s flexibility and user-friendly interface, and feels empowered by his Q-SYS Level 2 training: “I was impressed with the flexibility and ease with which you can integrate different elements and change the simply by dragging and dropping. I needed to add some exposure controls for the cameras and it was so simple to do. The training really opened my eyes to the possibilities, and I am confident I can tweak and adapt the system as we require. The Q-SYS communities have been an invaluable resource for support.”
Jess Rararty, internal business manager at Audiologic, emphasised the empowerment that Q-SYS provides to users for remote control and learning, thanks to its comprehensive training program. “With Q-SYS you have the ability to control the system remotely from anywhere, even outside the building, managing and learning as you go.”

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