Top-Down Design Provides Direction for Autodesk Facility

Grand Prize Winner for Best Project Under $1 Million in the 2010 ARCHI-TECH AV Awards

From an early stage in its design, Autodesk’s customer briefing center was to employ a rolling, sculptured wooden ceiling as a key aesthetic in the 7,000-square-foot space. But the freeform nature of the ceiling did not make for a free-for-all among project team members, who needed to work with a very high degree of coordination in order to make the space accommodate an array of AV projectors located off axis and at odd angles to the projection surfaces.

The ceiling consists of triangular, laminated plywood pieces. Chris Leary, principal with project architect KlingStubbins, likens the shape of the pieces to a boomerang. Through the openings of the highly polished architectural ceiling one can see the true ceiling and MEP building services painted in black. The contrast was important to Autodesk because this facility in Waltham, MA, is the headquarters of its AEC group, whose AutoCAD software is designed to coordinate disciplines across the architecture/engineering/construction industry. The customer briefing center includes lobby displays, a gallery area, two fully configured customer briefing rooms, 11 conference rooms, a large training room, and a break room.

While the wood ceiling is designed to reveal the necessary building services, it is meant to largely conceal the center’s eleven projectors, which are used to showcase Autodesk applications and case studies. The projectors are located above the suspended ceiling and are completely off axis to the projection surfaces. Moreover, since the projectors were only available in white, the system integrator, Office Environments of New England, brought in  a custom vinyl detailing company to apply black vinyl to the projectors’ cases while leaving all ventilation and control surfaces open.

ARCHI-TECH partners with InfoComm International® for the annual ARCHI-TECH AV Awards program, now in its eighth year. The program honors outstanding examples of the creative and effective integration of technology into otherwise traditional construction projects. As they do every year, this year's AV Awards winners pushed the boundaries of technology and architecture. Join us for our webinar series to hear from the professionals who created these award-winning projects.

The webinars for these projects are approved by AIA for earning one AIA/CES Learning Unit, and InfoComm for earning one CTS Renewal Unit (RU) unit.

Center for Connected Medicine - 9/2/2010  Now available on demand
Find out how this one-of-a-kind experience center uses high-end communication and presentation technologies to change the way the healthcare industry experiences and conducts business.

Autodesk - 9/16/2010
Discover how Autodesk’s project team proved that AV systems don’t have to be overly complex to produce outstanding results in a corporate office environment.

Brand Recognition: Carolina Herrera - 9/30/2010
Standing out from loud video displays that are overused on the Strip, hear how Carolina Herrera boutique uses its Vegas storefront to portray a dynamic, large-scale video display that integrates with the building’s architecture, providing passersby with a virtual fashion show.

Fox News Network - 10/14/2010
An eye-catching, compelling AV element is what FOX News was after for its news set – learn how they decided on an iconic AV element (an enormous, monolithic AV cube, reminiscent of the FOX logo) to distinguish the set and the FOX brand.

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House - 10/28/2010
Knowing that the Winspear Opera House would host operas as well as other types of performances, the project team shares how a hidden voice-lift system and retractable music system was installed that is invisible to patrons, but allows non-opera performances to be heard throughout the hall.


The center’s gallery floor has eleven freestanding projection surfaces, each with a dedicated DLP projector aligned to it. The main central image sculpture is a four-sided rectangular screen that has overlapped and blended images on all four sides using six projectors. The remaining five projection surfaces are freestanding single-sided flats. Pre-produced presentations are stored and played back in frame-locked synchronization via Alcorn McBride HD digital bin loops. 

A major issue was locating and positioning projectors above the featured ceiling maintaining perfect geometry and properly aligned, edge-blended images. Careful calculations were important to ensure that image sizes and overlap ratios were spot on. A lot of time was spent coordinating the correct content with the Autodesk creative group that produced the high-definition animation files to run on the digital bin loop MPEG multichannel playback system.

Field mockups and testing of projection sightlines were necessary to ensure that the projector mounts and the ceiling could accommodate each other. Even the light cones of the projector sightlines were modeled in 3D using the Revit modeling tools in AutoCAD in order to synch precisely with the ceiling design.

Office Environments of New England used MS/Project as the primary project-scheduling tool for critical path and allocation of resources. Racks and processors were fabricated, programmed and tested in Office Environments of New England’s Quality Assurance Lab.

 The judges for the 2010 ARCHI-TECH AV Awards noted that not only the outcome of the Autodesk project shined but also the degree of project integration and computer modeling used to construct it on time.


11 NEC NP4000 and 4100 DLP Projectors
11 Chief Projector Mounts
11 Silicon Optix Warp Engines
Marshall Electronics LCD Preview Monitors Extron Ultra Matrix Switch
11 Channel Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD

Briefing Rooms
Mitsubishi FL-7000 1080P DLP Projectors, Chief Projector Mounts, Panasonic 65-inch plasma monitors with wireless presentation

Extron Electronics CrossPoint Ultra Matrix
Extron Electronics RGB 192V Interfaces
Tascam DVD Player
Contemporary Research HD Tuner
Clock Audio Table and Lectern Microphones QSC Amplifiers
Tannoy Ceiling Speakers
Biamp Audio Conference DSP/Hybrid
Crestron Pro2 Central Processors
Crestron TPMC-8X Touch Panels


Architect: Kling Stubbins

Design Consultant: ACT Associates

System Integrator: Office Environments of New England

General Contractor: Tocci Building Companies