Canberra Airport has invested a total of $480m on a complete redevelopment of its terminal precinct
Australia - Canberra Airport, recently named 'Australia's Airport of the Year', features an innovative AV installation from Rutledge AV that utilises Tannoy's digital beam steering technology.

In recent times, Canberra Airport has invested a total of $480m on a complete redevelopment of its terminal precinct. This redevelopment, termed 'AirVolution', is the largest private sector investment in Canberra's history and has delivered a world-class terminal in Australia's capital that covers 55,000sqm. The environmentally friendly building has been recently honoured by a number of industry awards, including twice being named Australia's Airport of the Year.

Rutledge AV was commissioned to design, install and deliver the Western Concourse Public Address and Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS) for Stage 2 of Canberra Airport. This system would also need to integrate seamlessly into the existing airport's systems to ensure airport wide communication from a centralised control point.

Being such a modern structure, Canberra Airport presented some complex AV challenges given the expansive spaces. The stunning atrium is a particularly complex space, given the volume of glass used. The large glass atrium which overlooks aircraft as they dock, active runways and the region beyond is a three storey (16m high) structure that uses 279 glazed panels and covers an area of 1,500sq.m.

This area required detailed EASE modelling to ensure optimal placement of speakers. In such a challenging space, the solution to ensure intelligibility was Tannoy's digital beam steering column array, QFlex. Using the Qflex BeamEngine, system designers are able to quickly model a given environment and create customised 'steering files' for each QFlex array, ensuring that audio is distributed in a highly controlled and co-ordinated manner between QFlex units, minimising acoustic reflections and targeting the audio exactly on the areas required.

Rutledge AV was able to provide even coverage to every area, using just two QFlex 32 devices mounted either-side of the entrance hall and two QFlex 32s airside, along with another QFlex 40.

The aesthetics of the speakers was a major consideration in the equipment selection to ensure they would work in harmony with the built environment.

Elsewhere, 300 of Tannoy's CMS 601BM have been deployed on the concourse, restaurant and departure gates to provide even coverage throughout the terminal.

To maintain a safe environment at the airport, Rutledge AV not only installed an effective audio digital signal processing (DSP) system that is unobtrusive and meets all relevant Australian standards but one that assists to provide an efficient and safe airport environment. One of the biggest challenges was the cutover of the system in a public facility that operates for the most of the day.

The Rutledge AV commissioning team worked overnight to have the new Biamp VOCIA headend system operational by morning, cutover to the existing Klotz system.

"A project of this size that operates for most of the day in a public environment meant that the Rutledge AV commissioning team worked overnight to have the new system operational by morning. The night work was also necessary to undertake the required EVAC testing of the system and the cutover required precise coordination with the client to ensure that all stakeholders were on line at the same time," said Andrew Morrice, CEO of Rutledge AV.

(Jim Evans)

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