New York University School of Law’s Vanderbilt Hall is a 1950s-era building that sits along the corner of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Since construction it has become an appreciated landmark of the village, while also serving as a main building for those attending the prestigious law school.
The building recently underwent renovations and upgrades as the hall continues to be an important facility for the university. Key among those improvements is a renovation of the 400-seat Tishman Auditorium that was finished in July 2020 and provides a crucial audio improvement through Renkus-Heinz solutions.
“Tishman Auditorium isn’t a typical theatrical stage, but more of a lecture hall,” said Harry Allison, director of design services at Waveguide LLC, the consulting firm tasked with designing and commissioning the system. “And with its age comes a number of acoustical challenges. There’s a gentle slope to the floor and seating areas, and a staggered ceiling that combine to make it a difficult space to provide good sound. The consensus was the school had never been very happy with the audio in the space, yet it was an auditorium that gets used quite a bit. It needed to be fixed.”
The answer, Allison said, was a combination of Renkus-Heinz solutions: two Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC16-RN digitally steerable line array loudspeakers and six Renkus-Heinz VARIA array modules.
The ICONYX arrays make use of Renkus-Heinz’ digitally steerable technology, allowing venues of all size to digitally position sound exactly where desired. By programming the arrays digitally, the sound stays off the peculiarities of the room, and is directed entirely toward the audience’s ears.
VARIA, meanwhile, is designed for flexibility. VARIA’s highly configurable enclosures enable the custom design of arrays for every application.
“When you sit in the auditorium now and start up the system, it’s very impressive,” Allison said. “The school is very happy with the new sound of the space.”
Waveguide also designed and provided commissioning for multiple displays in the hall, which means the facility can now be used for more than just lectures. The results, Allison said, are transformative.
“They plan to show movies in there now, as well,” Allison said. “With Renkus-Heinz, we can provide intelligibility in speech and still give that immersive effect you want with a video. It’s an incredibly important tool to have: to be able to offer such high-quality sound in any type of location.”