11 Nov 2015

The West Building – A new era for the Adelaide Convention Centre


The Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) is Australia’s first purpose- built convention centre, and is currently into the final stage of a $400 million dollar expansion. The redevelopment of the Centre’s expansion has been staged to ensure it can continue to operate throughout. The West Building, stage one of the expansion, officially opened in March 2015.

The building has 21 meeting and four halls including the Riverbank Rooms, Panorama Rooms, City Rooms and Halls. All are reconfigurable into larger spaces, with multiple sizes and set-ups available. The AV system needed to be exible, simple to control, user-friendly and capable of handling any device or input thrown at it. The expansion provided an opportunity to approach AV, lighting, audio, comms, control and rigging from new angles. A focus on exibility, automation and an efficient use of labour were required. The final brief was drawn up following careful collaboration between ACC staff and consultants Aurecon.



The new tech used in the ACC’s systems make reconfiguring meeting and event spaces, simple and easy. Whether it’s combining three separate meetings rooms into one, streaming a presentation to web, or turning an exhibition hall into a fashion show in under three hours, the West Building makes everything fast and simple for hirers and staff alike. The new control and distribution systems are run around the building on fibre optic and Cat6 cabling, through shared switches, carrying comms, control, audio, video and data.

“We looked at a number of different options,” explained Neil Mackenzie, Technical Director at Aurecon. “Extron was chosen as when considered against its competitors, we came to the conclusion that Extron was the best t for the ACC as it met their technical demands and had the exibility it required, and happily, local support was at hand at Extron’s main of office just down the road.” Work began on the AV installation ahead of the of cial opening in March.

In Control


The West Building’s meeting rooms are powered by Extron XTP CrossPoint frames, with three 32×32 and one 16×16 fitted. These handle all incoming and outgoing video and display management, plus control via TLP series touch panels mounted on the walls. “The ACC needed a system which can move from one mode to another quickly and easily, linking or separating rooms,” explained Extron’s Jerry Kushnir.

“What they wanted was the ability to look after their own control, exibly and reliably,” Jerry continued. “Panasonic projectors were chosen for each room’s display needs, partly because of the HDBaseT implementation compatibility with Extron’s XTP. The ACC had the choice to manage their projectors through Extron’s control system, or Panasonic’s. We’ve had a lot of success with Panasonic projectors, being able to go directly in, because they support XTP, as well as the Crestron and AMX implementation of Valens. That eliminates the need for extra receivers, and eliminates a layer of complexity.”


Aurecon’s – Neil Mackenzie                                             Extron’s – Jerry Kushnir

Manual or Autopilot 

On the audio side, a Dante network handles distribution, with both automated modes via Extron AXP 50 C AT DSP, or operator mode utilising patching and processing from Dante-enabled Yamaha digital consoles. “We’ve custom-built lecterns in each meeting room which house the Extron XTP transmitters and receivers, and the Extron AXP 50 C AT,” said the ACC’s Technical Designer Matthew Stanton. “The AXP 50 takes analogue inputs and outputs Dante to the network. Each room has a lectern mic input, plus local inputs for adding additional mics. In addition, there’s also two Shure ULX-D radio mics, which we chose for their Dante functionality.”

The two complementary approaches to operation allow operators to change system configuration if needed. “The patching for the Extron audio DSP was set up through Dante Controller, which stays fixed,” continued Matthew. “If we need an operator, the network is patched and managed through the Yamaha QL or CL series console itself. All desks and our Yamaha Rio series input-output boxes patch directly onto the network. We patch into floor pits that have each port clearly labelled. The network is made of Cisco switches from the SG300 range. Dante and AV control sit on different VLANs, with a bre backbone linking the switches together.”


Above: Operating with the Riverbank Rooms combined, with Yamah QL1 and High End Systems RoadHog4

Show Time

Loudspeakers fitted throughout the venue range from Turbosound ceiling speakers in the meeting rooms, fed by lab. gruppen amps and Peavey Nion processing integrated into the EWIS, to large powered JBL VP series models, which come into play when the meeting rooms are opened up into larger spaces, as well as being pre-rigged for larger events in the foyers and ballrooms.

Performance lighting fixtures and control were selected and installed by ACC staff. Rigged throughout the function spaces are Robe Robin 600 LEDWashes and DLX Spots for décor, and Robe DLS Pro les for shutters. Lighting control comes from a selection of High End Systems RoadHog, Hog 4 and Full Boar consoles. Operators patch into ArtNet for lighting control, which is patched via ChamSys Snakesys units in the main racks, which break out to DMX to the mounted Robe fixtures. There’s also the option of using Lumenradio wireless DMX in parts of the venue.

Comms are handled by a Riedel Artist 128 matrix mainframe in the main rack, which patches through to Riedel MediorNet units in remote racks and locations, with a Riedel Acrobat CC-60 base station used for wireless comms. The system is patched via fibre throughout, from racks, to comms rooms, and floor pits. A Riedel Modular frame handles SDI video over bre to projector pods. ACC also use the Riedel signal distribution system to breakout AES/EBU and analogue audio to feed to parts of the audio system, including running AES/EBU into speaker processors.


Above: The ACC’s Matthew Stanton operating an Extron TLP Pro Touchscreen

Rigging the game

The West Building’s Halls can be combined to form one massive space, or run individually. Crowning the installation is a huge new modular grid system, installed by Harris Movement Engineering. The grid is actually 32 individually controllable grids, each with between four and six chain motors on each section.

The system consists of Stagemaker motors, Prolyte truss, controllers from Kinesys and a cable reticulation system designed and built by HME.


Above: HME’s Chris Iland with Kinesys Pendant controller

“It’s the most number of motors in a grid system we’ve ever done,” reported Chris Iland, Technical Consultant with HME. “Each section can tilt in two axes easily to give the room any kind of shape and feel. There’s two methods of control – hand held pendants for easy up and down, and the full Vector software from Kinesys that allows full individual motor control. The control system is Kinesys’s Digihoist. There’s two racks of eleven Digihoist eight channel controllers. There’s a custom control cabinet to deal with the emergency stops, multiple pendants and multiple operation modes, all designed by Kinesys.”

“The system is programmed with five basic pre-sets for day-to-day operation, but is capable of creating unique looks and feels,” added the ACC’s Matthew Stanton. “Once the equipment’s installed, you drop the truss down to the right height, plug in your lighting desk and focus your lights. The projector you just set to the right trim. There’s no need to focus lights with a lift, and we can just drop down and put drapes on there.”

First Published in CX Magazine (November, 2015)


Above: Too big to get it all in one shot.. part of the enormous grid system in Halls L-N


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