The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research was recently recognized by the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA) for the audio/visual capabilities within its facility. Technical Innovation, an AV integration firm, along with architecture, engineering, and planning firm Dewberry, was selected for its work with IALR as a winner in the third-annual ARCHI-TECH AV Awards 2005. Winners were recognized at the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA) AV Communications Excellence Awards Banquet on June 7 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Technical Innovation and Dewberry were honored at InfoComm ’05, the annual conference of the ICIA. Technical Innovation and Dewberry won in the $2 million and above category for AV design and systems integration for their work on the IALR facility located in Danville. The competition is sponsored by the ICIA and ARCHI-TECH Magazine and honors outstanding examples of creative and effective integration of technology into otherwise traditional construction projects.

The IALR is helping to transform the economy of Southside Virginia through strategic research programs and by bringing technology and talent to the region. Dewberry and Technical Innovation worked jointly to establish the IALR facility as one of the finest presentation and communications environments in the country. From an educational, governmental, institutional, and corporate standpoint, the AV systems scored high marks both economically and aesthetically.

Maurice Ferrell, IALR’s Director of Advanced Networking and Technology, said the technology within the facility delivers a cutting-edge ambiance that is noticeable throughout the building. “From a technology standpoint, the IALR facility is comparable to any of the most advanced facilities in the United States,” he said. “The recent ARCHI-TECH Award is a great honor for IALR, Technical Innovation, and Dewberry. This recognition substantiates the IALR’s mission of bringing advanced technology to Southside Virginia.”

Dewberry, a national professional services firm with offices in 14 states, is responsible for the architecture design of the IALR facility. According to Larry Hasson, project manager out of Dewberry’s Danville office, designing a building that would serve as a symbol for inspiration and change was paramount for this project. “Dewberry’s collaboration with Technical Innovation accomplished the design goal of both providing a high-tech systems and image that reflects the building’s purpose of economic transformation,” Hasson said.

“The IALR had a clear vision as to what needed to be accomplished at this facility,” noted Gary Benzine, the director of the Raleigh, N.C., office for Technical Innovation. “Receiving industry-wide recognition for this effort is truly an honor.”

For such a project, the technology had to be dramatic and creative. The first impression is provided by a 3 x 3 hanging plasma screen array (suspended from the ceiling) that greets visitors in the 40-foot atrium lobby. In addition to the "Great Hall" -- a center with seating for 600 used for corporate and government functions -- the facility also includes three fully integrated conference rooms and a multi-use executive boardroom. An innovative creation, the 45-foot long boardroom (with a 32-foot custom table, side-by-side 61-inch plasma displays, six auxiliary plasma displays, and 16 separate computer/input links) has been designed to easily divide into two distinct rooms. The finishing element of the project was a group of nine state-of-the-art education classrooms.

“While the blueprints were still on the table during the initial design stages of the facility, Virginia Tech provided its considerable expertise to the team to help plan a high functioning technology building,” said Nancy Franklin, Senior Director of Technology and Programs for IALR. “One of the reasons that the IALR facility has been so widely applauded in the international AV community is that AV functionality was taken into account in the formative stages of the design process. Technical Innovation and Dewberry, along with Virginia Tech, the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County, worked as a team to make the high-tech IALR facility in Southside Virginia a reality and they deserve this great recognition from the ICIA.”