The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford is the UK’s first school of government dedicated to inspiring and supporting the better government and public policy around the world. Founded in 2010 thanks to a gift from American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, the School’s stunning new home is designed by world-renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron and provides a purpose-built home for a vibrant academic community.
When it comes to designing an AV system for the new building, the challenge faced by existing IT and AV teams was developing innovative solutons that supported day to day requirements as well as those generated by the School’s eclectic mix of events. More importantly, the School prides itself on being dynamic and forward looking so the technology had to be advanced, cutting edge and had to match and contribute to the visionary surroundings.
Hewshott worked closely with the existing AV and IT teams from the offset. They oversaw the entire project from the initial phases such as briefing, concept design and management of procurement and tender processes to liaising with contractors and supervising the installation.
After conducting a needs analysis to better understand the requirements of end users, they were able to build specifications for the variety of changeable learning spaces accordingly. As flexibility was key, Hewshott recommended and AV design with functionality that adapted to mirror the room layout in the main flat teaching space, meaning that no matter how the rooms are partitioned, the AV is still functional and can be controlled from one place. They also recommend and managed the implementation of full BYOD support, allowing presentation to any display device from staff or student mobile devices. Users now have the option of using their own devices or the integrated systems dependent on their requirements.
The varied nature of the School’s activities required a totally flexible approach to system design. Hewshott’s design enabled things like live streaming, international video calling and multi-camera shots whilst still allowing day to day lectures to take place without the assistance of the technical support team.
Most importantly, Hewshott understood the importance of the School’s reputation and designed robust, cutting edge solutions to support their varied, and often high profile, events and activities.
Matthew Treavis, Head of ICT, at Blavatnik School of Government comments:
“Hewshott guided us throughout the entire design process to give us a cutting edge, forward looking and advanced AV system that fully supports the requirements of our students and staff.
Their hands-on approach and personalised service meant they were able to easily align the AV system with the school’s key principles, in turn bringing our vision and this inspirational building to life. It’s not surprising that the project has been nominated for the Best Education Project at this year’s Install Awards.
The key measure of success for me is how easily and seamlessly the end user can take control of the system. Its reliability, flexibility and simplicity means that, after minimal training, general use becomes an afterthought and very little support is required from internal teams. As a result, we have more time to focus on other important tasks like meeting the ever increasing technology needs of our students, plus a Hewshott consultant is still on hand to ensure we are getting the most out of the new system.”