AV transforms historic palace into centre of learning
A palace dating back to 1780 has been transformed into an academy for young people in St Petersburg. Integrator Polymedia supplied modern multimedia technology while remaining sensitive to historical features of the venue.
Plans to transform the Kamenny Island Palace in St Petersburg into Talent Academy, an area to allow youth to explore and learn about creativity, were realised by the Committee of Education of St Petersburg and AV integrator Polymedia.
Technology was integrated into the palace without altering the historic walls and features that made up the interior of the building. It was designed to support learning on topics such as humanities, technical and natural sciences and creative and vocational classes.
Laboratories were created to allow students to explore STEM subjects in a centre separated into themed halls for physics, chemistry, biology, geography and ecology. Situated within the laboratories are nine interactive tables equipped with software and interactive lessons developed by Polymedia. Each table is supported with a vertically installed LG screen.
Kamenny Island Palace can also host concerts, recitals and theatrical plays with Bose portable PA systems, Sennheiser wireless microphones, projector, screen, stage and Robe lighting available to support performances.
“[Polymedia] engineers managed to blend high-tech equipment seamlessly into the space and not violate the original design, interior and architectural appearance of Kamenny Island Palace.”The Centre for Intellectual Games incorporates an interactive table to help schoolchildren develop techniques for creative thinking by participating in cognitive training sessions that take place as a roleplay of famous TV gameshows. An LG LCD panel shows a user interface with a score and questions for the game.
The game is displayed on an LG interactive videowall and controlled via a touchtable. The centre is also equipped with a Bose sound system and Sennheiser microphones.
Other games are played at the Centre of Project Activities which houses a Beyerdynamic wireless conference system and Lifesize videoconference system for meetings and discussions between children and scientists, actors, musicians, athletes and politicians. LG LCD panels on SMS mobile stands and sound amplification was also provided.
A co-working space was created for collaborative activities and houses a four-screen interactive videowall comprised of 55-in LG displays in a vertical alignment. Interactivity is supported by an infrared frame and content is fed from the academy’s servers. A smart Flipbox display was delivered to encourage team working.
The Talent Academy also houses an educational multimedia classroom designed for interactive programmes, presentations and video broadcasts. The space is used to present educational material on history, astronomy and the military. A large display, electronic quizzes and Bose surround sound system were deployed here.
A media centre offers students a virtual studio and houses a set of professional Panasonic video cameras, lighting equipment and video editing workstations. A Flipbox electronic flipchart was also installed for discussion of work results.
Aside from the Talent Academy, work has been done to make sure that the historic parts of Kamenny Island Palace can be explored by students. Artefacts are combined with technology to allow the past to be uncovered and contribute to students’ understanding.
Polymedia has coupled an LG LCD panel with Microsoft Kinect unit to create a virtual fitting room. Visitors can try on virtual costumes, take pictures and send them to their email addresses. A gallery of live images are displayed on further LG LCDs in frames and an integrated web camera detects visitor presence, prompting the displayed character to come to life and tell its story.
An exhibition centre is equipped with virtual museum showcases. The physical exhibit is displayed behind a transparent LG LCD. Content is controlled by a Spinetix network player.
In the “sea interior” room a holographic theatre adds virtual, projected 3.4m high characters to set designs, physical props and real actors. Twenty audience members can be accommodated.
The theatre was designed with a back wall, on to which the background image is projected, and a transparent screen, on to which the virtual actor is projected. Between the two screens actors have space to join the performance.
Students can record music sets and control high, medium and low frequencies in the Centre of Digital Music.
Finally, a conference hall was designed for meetings and conferences. It is equipped with videoconferencing systems and LCD display systems. Sound amplification, wireless audio conferencing, translation and recording and broadcasting systems were also deployed.
Darya Andrianova, former CEO of the Talent Academy, said Polymedia has offered an innovative approach to the project. “[Polymedia] engineers managed to blend high-tech equipment seamlessly into the space and not violate the original design, interior and architectural appearance of Kamenny Island Palace,” she said.