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Oxford opts for Iconyx in new lecture theatres

Pairs of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC-8-RII digitally steered array loudspeakers have been installed in the lecture theatres at the Blavatnik School of Government

Oxford University is renowned for delivering the highest standards of education. Following the opening of two Harvard-style lecture theaters within the University’s Blavatnik School of Government, the school opted for a Renkus-Heinz Iconyx digitally steered array loudspeakers to ensure classes are always understood.

Opened in September 2012 and originally based across three temporary sites, the Blavatnik School of Government is named for its benefactor, philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik, a Russian-born US citizen now based in the UK. Courtesy of a £75 million donation, the school is now housed in its own permanent home, designed by award-winning architects Herzog and de Meuron.

The design of its two lecture theaters – a horseshoe configuration reflecting the style of Harvard University – brings students and lecturers closer together. However, the combination of a curved rear wall, metal-framed ceilings and wooden floors created a big problem with reverberation.

“Although it’s a brand new, state-of-the-art building and the lecture theatres met every environmental and educational requirement, the nature of their design meant that they were significantly acoustically compromised,” says Stuart Leader, installation manager at POLARaudio.

“Our experiences of installing Iconyx into some very acoustically challenging heritage sites left us in no doubt that it was the ideal solution for the school.”

UK-based Renkus-Heinz distributor POLARaudio was brought into the project by consultant Hewshott International, while UK-based systems integrator Snelling Business Systems completed the installation of pairs of Iconyx IC-8-RII digitally steered array loudspeakers

“The School is very impressed with the qualities of the Iconyx speakers,” adds Steve Royans, sales manager of Snelling Business Systems. “They offer a clarity that is absolutely essential in this multi-faceted academic environment and achieve this in spite of the acoustic challenges presented by the rooms.”