UTS realises leading-edge science education facility with Crestron
The moment he was briefed, project manager Rob Hardy knew he was taking
on one of the toughest challenges in AV design. A ‘SuperLab’ was planned
as the centrepiece of the new Science & Graduate School of Health Building
at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Ranked as the No. 1 young
University in Australia, UTS is one of the largest universities in the country
with a total enrolment of over 40,000 students and 3000 staff.
But just what is a SuperLab? The idea of a SuperLab had been around for
only a decade, but it was already established as a new category of teaching
room. The first SuperLab was built at the London Metropolitan University
and it quickly gained a reputation as a key tool for improving passing grades
and enhancing retention rates amongst first-year Science students.
A SuperLab must allow many classes to run in the space at once, and be
able to instantly reconfigure to allow an instructor to address any sized class
— from as little as a dozen to as many as 200 students.
It sounds easy if you say it quickly, but facilitating two-way communication
between a demonstrator and a class undertaking practical chemistry or
biology experiments is already taxing. Adding the requirement for different
groups to work side by side without interrupting each other takes the
audiovisual task to an entirely new plane. Match that with the need to