- The Firm
Lighting & Sound America, February, 2014
Creating facilities for multi-purpose use at post secondary institutions has become a hallmark of Engineering Harmonics' approach to contemporary design. College Boreal's new theatre in Sudbury, ON, serves as an exemplary case study. Incorporating a 178-seat balcony that is convertible into four separate classrooms with local control of AV systems, the facility features retractable parterre seating to transform the theatre into a cabaret-style studio space, along with an adjacent recording studio and black box space to augment the delivery of the college's stage management and technology support diploma programs.
"The quality of what they received for what they paid is a model for the type of lecture halls that are being built at present. We’ve done more than a few convertible rooms like this in the past few years, as clients are asking what else they can do with their space," said Engineering Harmonics' partner Martin Van Dijk, who helmed the project.
Professional Sound, February, 2014
As the centerpiece of its new Stage Management and Technology Support diploma programs, Collège Boréal in Sudbury, Ontario, has built a stunning, multi-purpose performance space to train students in stage and production management as well as backstage technologies such as sound and lighting design, video projection, technical direction, art design, and set construction. The 352-seat theatre is a blueprint for designing a modern lecture hall as a convertible space serving multiple purposes and yielding maximum return on investment.
Engineering Harmonics designed the facility to serve the diverse requirements of teaching, learning, performance, and distance education. "For its size, scale, feature set, and capabilities, it really suits the academic market," said project manager and Engineering Harmonics' partner Martin Van Dijk.
Professional Sound, August, 2013
A complete upgrade of the performance sound system and AV infrastructure at the University of British Columbia's Chan Centre was completed earlier this year. Engineering Harmonics' design includes digital consoles for the Chan Shun Concert Hall's front of house and monitor mix positions; fibre-optic interface connecting the hall with the Telus Studio Theatre, Royal Bank Cinema and broadcast position; a comprehensive digital signage system; and a steerable surround loudspeaker array to replace the hall's aging centre cluster. The redesign has yielded a marked improvement in intelligibility throughout the venue, as well as radically reduced setup times.
The overall design had to be flexible to accommodate a diverse array of events, while remaining simple to operate for the technical staff. "Ease of use and education were major factors in the design," said project manager Paul Alegado of Engineering Harmonics.
HigherEd TechDecisions, November 29, 2012
Medical education in Canada recently got a shot in the arm as an innovative high-definition distance education system came fully online in June 2011. Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick have partnered to create the new Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick program, with a system linking 19 sites at the two university campuses and four New Brunswick hospitals. The program was established in collaboration with the Government of New Brunswick and the Horizon Health Network.
John Robertson, Dalhousie’s Director of Academic Computing Services and Med IT, visited a number of medical schools that were already using videoconferencing technology, and engaged Engineering Harmonics to develop and design a system that would be “the next step up.”
“Rather than taking distance learning to the next level, we’ve actually surpassed it and delivered a totally immersive experience,” said Russ Noble, manager, user experience and software development at Engineering Harmonics.
September 6, 2012
Collège Boréal celebrated the official opening of its new concert hall, the jewel of its arts and culture training facilities. In addition to its recording studio, “black box” type lab, and several multi-purpose infrastructures, the students involved in the stage management programs at Collège Boréal will now enjoy a new state-of-the-art 350-seat concert hall.
The theatre's "exceptional" sound and lighting features were designed by Engineering Harmonics, and include 300 incandescent lighting devices and 36 fully-automated LED systems, as well as a high performing sound system for concerts, dance performances and film projections. Mathieu Grainger, manager of events and performing arts at Collège Boréal, noted, “This state-of-the-art concert hall brings together the technologies that future Collège Boréal graduates will be expected to use in their career as stage technicians."
ReNew Canada, September, 2012
Engineering Harmonics has been retained as AV consultants for five of the 10 largest public building infrastructure projects in Canada as ranked by dollar value in Renew Canada: The Infrastructure Magazine. This year’s Top 100 list represents more than $114 billion in infrastructure investments in Canada, an 18 per cent increase over last year’s list total, according to the magazine.
The projects for which Engineering Harmonics is providing the consulting, design and engineering services for audio, video, AV, digital signage and other related technologies are the MaRS Centre Phase 2, Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex, and the Ismaili Centre Aga Khan Museum and Park, all in Toronto; the Waterloo Region Consolidated Courthouse; and the Quinte Consolidated Courthouse.
“We’re very proud to have been selected to consult on these significant new public buildings, and it is both personally and professionally fulfilling to know that we have earned the trust on which our selection was based,” said Philip Giddings, principal of Engineering Harmonics.
Award, August, 2012
With a mandate for quick changeovers between six different room configurations, the new two-storey 400-seat, 600 square metre event hall at the Rotman School of Management features the latest audiovisual technology.
"The hall is a multipurpose space in the truest sense and has more AV technology than any university meeting space that we know of," said project director Gary Tibshirani. Among several innovations, Engineering Harmonics employed infrared proximity sensors in the design of a camera tracking system that gives lecturers the freedom to move across the full width of the room and still allow cameras to capture facial expressions at all times.
Sound & Communications, May 21, 2012
A seamlessly transparent connection between two university campuses and five regional hospitals enabled by intuitive user interfaces and extensive video and audio coverage allows participants to forget that they are hundreds of miles apart.
"What we did was to use software design to break down the walls and escalate the idea of a shared environment. We used the same nomenclature as in videoconferencing but we took the education process apart in focus groups and built it back up, coding it piece by piece," said Russ Noble, manager of Engineering Harmonics' software department.
Lighting & Sound America, March 2012
Multiple challenges for Engineering Harmonics arose from the need to incorporate modern AV systems into the terraced Helzberg Hall in Kansas City's new Kauffman Center without disrupting the acoustical integrity of the architect's room design. Such a hall is intended to have a single sound source: the stage. When off-stage loudspeakers are used as a source, however, the sound system is significantly challenged. Through a combination of systems design and tuning the room and sound system work in harmony.
Arcilook, March 2012
Engineering Harmonics provided design of performance sound, video, and communications systems for this extraordinary facility.
AV Tech, December 2011
In implementing high-definition digital video systems, the devil is in the details, from IP address assignment and electronic display identification data to termination issues and cable management. Engineering Harmonics' expertise is profiled in this description of the various pitfalls and speed bumps on the road from concept to implementation.
Lighting & Sound America (online), November 3, 2011
Aercoustics Engineering Limited won an Award of Excellence at the 2011 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards Gala in Ottawa on November 1. Aercoustics was honored for its work on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre acoustical renovation, described by the Vancouver Opera as "a minor miracle." The awards are presented jointly by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) and Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine. "The awards recognize the greatest engineering works designed and built by Canadian consulting engineering firms," said John Gamble, president of ACEC. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre's performance sound system was designed by Engineering Harmonics.
Lighting & Sound America (online), November 1, 2011
The $413 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO, opened on September 16 with performances by Placido Domingo, the Canadian Brass, and the Kansas City Symphony, among others. Designed by architect Moishe Safdie, the Kauffman Center houses the 1,600 seat Helzberg Hall, a terraced concert hall-in-the-round that is home to the Kansas City Symphony, and the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre that will serve as the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
The two venues have been described as the yin and yang of the Kauffman experience—the exuberant Muriel Kauffman Theatre with its proscenium and illuminated acrylic balcony fronts ringing the hall stands in marked contrast to the sleek and ethereal oval-shaped Helzberg Hall, that some visitors have likened to the interior of a wooden ship, with its warm, muted wood tones that recall the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Noting this resemblance in both form and material, critic Steve Paul wrote in The Kansas City Star, “One important connection between these two concert halls was the work of Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, whose choice of shapes, wood and physical components was paramount in creating the aural experience.”
Toronto Consultants Engineering Harmonics Inc. worked with Nagata Acoustics in both Kansas City and Los Angeles, designing performance sound systems to integrate seamlessly with the natural acoustics. Judging from the critical acclaim that followed last month’s inaugural performances in Helzberg Hall, the result is a resounding success. The amplified sound is “ambient and natural-sounding,” wrote David Mermelstein in Musical America.
Paul added, “Insiders will argue whether Helzberg exceeds even Disney, a slightly larger hall, though time—plus word of mouth in the music community—will tell.”
“This was our second foray into the design of a sound system in a terraced hall with Nagata Acoustics,” noted Engineering Harmonics president Philip Giddings. “In Kansas City, we further developed and refined our approach to this type of venue, and we are more than encouraged by the response of performers, audiences and critics alike,” he said.
June 13, 2011
At a gathering of members of the community and representatives of Sudbury’s cultural industry, Collège Boréal unveiled the components of the second phase of its Societal Project. On this occasion, a $1.2-million investment was announced by the Honourable Rick Bartolucci, MPP for Sudbury and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Engineering Harmonics is responsible for the acoustics, sound and lighting for the amphitheatre to be built on Collège Boréal’s Sudbury campus. “We are very proud to work on this exciting project with Collège Boréal as it invests in education, technology and culture in Northern Ontario," said Gary Tibshirani, Director, Engineering Harmonics. Equipped with the latest in communications technology, this amphitheatre will expand the existing network of 22 videoconference rooms that Collège Boréal currently operates in 17 cities and will be added to the hundred of additional locations that Collège Boréal serves across the province in collaboration with its partner Contact North.
May 31, 2011
ProAV and Architect magazines' Spotlight Award for 2011 is being presented at this year’s InfoComm International Conference in Orlando June 11- 17. "This was perhaps the strongest field of entries we've ever had for the Spotlight Awards," said Brad Grimes, editor of ProAV. "It's clear from these winners–and from all the entries–that audiovisual systems continue to play a more prominent role in the way organizations communicate."
In line with the consistent architectural look and feel in all connected teaching rooms, the systems feature two-way interactive HD video conferencing, dynamic microphone queuing, programmable lighting, and live host transfer capability, all enabled via software written by Engineering Harmonics.
CBC News, February 19, 2011
Canada’s federal government has approved plans to build a magnificent $42-million glass dome on Parliament Hill as a temporary new home for the House of Commons while the existing chamber on Parliament Hill is being renovated. The temporary Commons chamber will have exactly the same dimensions and layout as the existing one, complete with tiered seating for MPs and overhanging visitors' galleries.
The dome will be built in what is now an open courtyard in the West Block of the Parliament Buildings, and is expected to be completed in 2018. The building will include a cafeteria and an underground tunnel with its own skylights, connecting the temporary Commons chamber to a new visitors' centre.
Engineering Harmonics is designing the infrastructure for the extensive audio and broadcast systems.
SmarTrend Video News, November 2010
Engineering Harmonics was retained for conceptual and schematic design of multimedia for this extraordinary residence. Areas include a 50-seat cinema, 1,000-seat ballroom/entertainment centre with stage and green room, fitness centre, dance studio, pools, press room with broadcast control, and elevated garden with video wall.
Mediacaster, October 15, 2010
A new high definition video conferencing system that will link sites at two university campuses and four New Brunswick hospitals is being launched this week, bringing the latest in information and communications technology to bear on critical medical education and information sharing activities. Project description here.
Engineering Harmonics’ RCM Koerner Hall project awarded highest honor by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology
Theatre Design & Technology, July 2010
Theatre consultant Anne Minors was present to accept the award and, using the orchestra as an analogy, attributed the hall's success to "a very collaborative team that listened to each other and gave each other space where they needed it and . . . when each member of the team had the tune, let them play it fully."
Lighting & Sound America (online), June 2010
Toronto's Engineering Harmonics has been named a recipient of the eighth annual ARCHI-TECH AV Award for the integration of outstanding architectural design and advanced audio-visual technology in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, TX.
NEWS RELEASE June 2010 - Engineering Harmonics Wins AV ARCHI-TECH Award
The Integrated Sound System: Combining voice-lift and performance sound functions at Toronto’s Koerner Hall
Lighting & Sound America, April 2010
The Michael and Sonja Koerner Hall at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), a beautiful and superb sounding venue that opened September 2009, features an innovative integration of its voice-lift and performance sound systems for use in reinforced applications where provision of complete coverage to every seat might otherwise be more costly or more complex to achieve. The 1,135-seat concert hall is the jewel of the new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at the Royal Conservatory of Music, constructed over three years at a cost of some $110 million. While the conservatory’s mandate is centered firmly on teaching Koerner Hall was also built to be an exciting new landmark on Toronto’s cultural map, not unlike Lincoln Center in New York with its constituent conservatory, The Juilliard School.
Broadcaster, March 2010
Built over three years at a cost of some $110 million, the 1,135-seat concert hall is the jewel of the new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The hall achieved the highest possible acoustic rating—N1—rendering it ideal for the finest acoustical performances of classical music, jazz, and world music. The incorporation of variable acoustics makes it equally well suited to amplified music, lectures, and film presentations. The hall features an innovative and almost invisible 'voice-stick' designed by Engineering Harmonics to maximize intelligibility, rather than sound reinforcement.
Dallas’ New Theatre Machine: The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre combines innovative design with total flexibility
Lighting & Sound America, February 2010
At a cost of $354 million, a vast new outdoor plaza has been created in downtown Dallas, making room for the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House (designed for opera, ballet, and touring Broadway productions), the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre (home to Dallas Theatre Center); the Annette Strauss Artist Square (an open-air theatre for concerts), City Performance Hall (a production space for the city’s smaller performing arts organizations); and Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park (a 10-acre public space). The Wyly Theatre, as we will see, is modeled on one of the great modern English playhouses, but it also pushes the concept of the flexible theatre to its limit.
Squaring the Circle: The Winspear Opera House houses a classic auditorium inside an up-to-date structure
Lighting & Sound America, February 2010
According to a statement issued by Foster + Partners, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House “redefines the opera house for the 21st century.” The auditorium posed many challenges, particularly in making the principles of the horseshoe work in a large volume while also finding room for the necessary technical amenities. Project description here.
This project won a 2010 Archi-Tech AV Award.
Professional Sound, October 2009
Koerner Hall is a 1,140-seat performance space in Toronto’s TELUS Centre For Performance And Learning, home of the Royal Conservatory Of Music. It’s housed within the headquarters of what’s arguably the most respected musical body in the country, providing an inherent appeal to musicians. Add to that its world-class N1 acoustic rating, back-of-house areas for performers, and a $1-million collection of antique musical instruments bestowed on the hall by its namesake donors, and you’re left with a space that beckons even the finest performers from around the world.
Considering the calibre of acts that the venue has already begun to attract (opening week performers included the trio of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White, for example), and its breathtaking architecture, the centre is likely just as appealing to the general music-appreciating public.
This is Professional Sound, though, and we wouldn’t be profiling such a space—regardless of its meaning to the masses—were there not a certain appeal to audio enthusiasts as well.
Professional Sound, December 2008
A report on the 2008 AES “The Roots of Our Toronto Sound” conference, by Philip Giddings, Founder and President of Engineering Harmonics. How the technology, methodologies, education, and - perhaps most importantly - the audience have changed.
NEWS RELEASE December 2008 - "Paul Alagedo appointed Manager, Western Canada Region" [Paul Alegado Bio]
Lighting & Sound America, November 2008
Caesars Windsor Casino, Ontario’s first permanent casino, underwent a $400-million expansion with the addition of a second hotel and convention center incorporating ballrooms, conference rooms, and the Colosseum, an entertainment center with the flexibility to serve as both a flat-floor convention facility and a 5,000-seat concert hall. At the same time, the casino renovated its existing facilities, adding a number of dazzling digital design innovations, including a “video-centric” sports lounge featuring the longest concave indoor sports ticker in North America.
To provide cutting-edge, high-impact audio visual display systems and technological infrastructure for its patrons, Ontario Lottery and Gaming and Windsor Casino Ltd. enlisted the technical design and project management expertise of Engineering Harmonics. Project description here.
Professional Sound, November 2007
Ten years and $100 million in the making, the Jarvis Street National Ballet School campus is open for business, The school does far more than educate students in dance and performing arts - it's the only ballet academy in North America to offer a full academic program, residences, and dance training on one campus. A review of how a heritage building was restored with sensitivity and elegance while packing it with modern technology to bring into the 21st century. Read about the ingenious systems designed by Engineering Harmonics for the boardrooms, theatre, and other spaces in the School. Project description here.
Lighting & Sound America, November 2007
Computer-based solutions have brought new levels of sophistication to the science and art of integrating a performance sound system into a facility. To wit: the growing practice of sound designers and technicians walking around a hall with a wireless tablet or laptop computer in hand, taking measurements and applying correction to the processors driving the amplifiers that, in turn, power loudspeakers. This has brought tangible improvements to performance sound for audiences everywhere, along with concomitant benefits for sound professionals and facility managers. This article looks at the evolution of this practice, and how wireless technology has resulted in improvements in the measurement and control of performance sound systems. It includes guidelines and recommendations, along with some tips for avoiding pitfalls and potentially career limiting missteps.
Lighting & Sound America, August 2007
How do you integrate a public address system into a concert hall in-the-round that isn’t even built yet? This was a problem facing Engineering Harmonics, the Toronto consulting firm that worked on the performance sound, video, and communications systems of the $304- million Metropolitan Kansas City Performing Arts Center. The job was to design a PA system capable of delivering highly intelligible, natural sound—primarily speech—to every seat in a stunningly beautiful hall designed primarily for acoustic, orchestral music. Read how Engineering Harmonics tackled this sizable challenge.
Lighting & Sound America, April 2007
From the inaugural gala in September 2004 featuring Art Garfunkel backed by chamber orchestra, though stellar performances by Yo Yo Ma, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, and The Moody Blues, the 2,250-seat Overture Hall in Madison, Wisconsin, has garnered rave reviews for its programming and consistently good sound. One reason the sound is so dependable is that touring shows are required to use the installed performance sound system and are requested not to bring in their own equipment. Project description here.
Theatre Design & Technology, Fall 2006
The audio system in an opera house is not intended for reinforcement, but for sound effects and sound transfer from one place to another. In order that these sounds blend seamlessly with the acoustic sound issuing from the stage and orchestra pit, a very fine touch is required. For this reason, acoustician Bob Essert subcontracted the design of the performance sound system to Engineering Harmonics. “We retained Engineering Harmonics not just because they are a local design firm, but because we respect them and we respect the quality of their work—both the results they had obtained on their previous projects and the process they employed in achieving those results,” Essert said.
Lighting & Sound America, August 2006
Read about the acoustics and sound reinforcement challenges and solutions that played into creating this very modern hall in a historical form. Project description here.
Engineering Harmonics receives CITT/ICTS Supplier (Corporate) Achievement Award
Stageworks, February 2006
Engineering Harmonics was honoured as recipient of the 2005 CITT/ICTS Supplier (Corporate) Award. In presenting the award, Victor Svenningson of CITT/ICTS recognized Engineering Harmonics "as a premier provider of quality solutions to the broadcasting, recording, and entertainment industries, as well as corporations and governments around the world."
Overture Center for the Performing Arts: Engineering Harmonics & Westbury National team up
Professional Sound, February 2005
The 2,250 seat Overture Hall in Madison, Wisconsin, opened to rave reviews last September in no small part to the crucial role played by two Toronto firms, consultants Engineering Harmonics Inc., who designed and specified the performance sound, video and communications systems, and contractor Westbury National Show Systems Ltd., who took care of the installation.
Sound & Video Contractor, January 2005
A broad ecumenical trend in Protestantism called “emerging worship” is aimed at reinvigorating ministry. Along with traditional rituals and elements, it prescribes large doses of the performing arts — dance, drama, and music — in the pursuit of congregational participation. The emphasis on congregational participation means that acoustic design, along with sound, video, and lighting design, must allow the congregation to hear and see themselves and each other, as well as the worship leaders and performers on stage. A case study of the successful partnership of theology and engineering in constructing a house of emerging worship is the Redwood Park Church.
NEWS RELEASE July 2004 - "Best in the business," Engineering Harmonics wins world stage in Kansas City and Dallas
NEWS RELEASE June 2004 - Engineering Harmonics Named a Winner of ARCHI-TECH AV Award
Entertainment Design, April 2002
The Kodak Theatre auditorium is designed as a large yet intimate house to serve both the needs of live audiences and broadcast requirements. The house sound system infrastructure is designed to meet Broadway and broadcast A/B routing requirements.