It goes without saying that space is at a premium in Manhattan. Greatly expanding an existing commercial facility to enhance its utility, improve its efficiency and elevate its profile in a competitive market is no mean feat. But the 1.2 million-square-foot addition to New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has achieved just that.
Metinteractive, which provides strategic solutions for architecture, communication and technology, partnered with Lendlease Turner JV as a member of the design build construction team and as AV integrator for the Javits Center expansion. The new space added another 200,000 square feet of meeting rooms and pre-function areas, including a 54,000-square-foot special event space, and a truck marshaling facility designed to make event operations more efficient. The Javits Center is run by the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation. Its expansion is part of New York City’s long-term Midtown West redevelopment plan.
“The Javits Center now has a vastly more versatile and complex AV system, rigging system, lighting system, IPTV system and motorized room partitions – all the components seen as the gold standard for today’s convention centers,” notes Jeff Mele, Metinteractive’s CEO.
“The sheer size of the project was monumental,” says Sal Russo, Vice President/Project Management and Construction for Lendlease Turner JV. “The design team at consultants JB&B and Metinteractive played a critical role in developing an appropriate infrastructure for the expanded Javits Center, so it’s fortunate that Metinteractive is accustomed to working on large projects.” Decision-making for the project took place over an 18-month period during which Metinteractive often upgraded the equipment roster with more robust gear that made the best use of space and demonstrated the most flexibility and functionality.
Metinterctive’s Project Manager David Bullard says a facility the size and scope of the Javits Center required Metinteractive to “think about systems that would work over large distances and repeat across rooms while maintaining an even quality of performance everywhere.” He calls the new special event space “a next-generation meeting infrastructure equipped to meet clients’ demands. It not only expands meeting room facilities but also provides clients with a dimension of functionality they never had before.”
The Javits Center’s special event space on Level 5 is a mammoth sub-dividable area, which can be configured as four giant meeting rooms; meeting space on Level 4 includes a number of smaller rooms. This flexible architecture accommodates any AV equipment the client may bring in while a QSC Q-Sys Core 110f control system with custom interfaces enables any audio feed in the building to be directed to any room. A QSC AD-C1200 speaker package ensures even speaker coverage while an IPTV system from Exterity allows up to 60 cable channels to be distributed over the Internet anywhere it’s needed.
New pre-function areas, consisting of hallways and room entries, also have extensive audio coverage and video signage. The front atrium entry boasts a 35-foot wide Mitsubishi 4mm pixel pitch Diamond Vision LED videowall driven by Metinteractive’s ElationLogic Storyteller Transmedia-native software. The videowall can display event-specific informational signage as well as advertising for the Javits Center or its clients. Each meeting room doorway has a Planar 50- or 86-inch signage display fed by Exterity players and operated by a quick, intuitive interface.
The expansion extends to rooftop spaces as well. An outdoor terrace, planted with small garden beds and offering views of the Hudson River, is equipped with a Sonance outdoor-rated speaker and QSC amp for pre-function events. A glass-enclosed pavilion offers the same extensive AV capabilities as the large indoor meeting spaces.
A new capability now available to clients is Sennheiser’s MobileConnect, an assistive- and personal-listening solution that utilizes Javits Center WiFi to stream live audio content to any iOS or Android phone. “It was particularly exciting to see the potential of this technology, which can be used throughout the facility,” says Bullard.
For easy communication among 12 AV equipment rooms Metinteractive installed a ClearCom Eclipse matrix intercom system with V32LD user stations.
Metinteractive was also responsible for an almost behind-the-scenes area that’s vital to the smooth and efficient rotation of events at the Javits Center. “The expansion included the addition of a four-level truck marshaling facility with AV coverage,” Mele reports. “With 27 additional loading docks inside, the facility can house 200 trucks at any one time, meaning trucks will no longer be lining up on the West Side Highway and tying up traffic. The Javits Center can turn over shows at a much faster pace now.”
Sal Russo, who has worked for more than 15 years with Metinteractive for clients such as the Museum of Natural History, isn’t surprised that Metinteractive had the chops to successfully deliver for the Javits Center expansion. “I have a lot of faith in their abilities and appreciate their talents,” he says. “The cutting-edge technology they put in place will serve Javits Center clients for years to come. Their systems will be the primary systems to build on in the future.”
At Metinteractive Richard Gold was the Senior Engineer for the project and Anja Kerkapoly was the Programmer and on-site Technical Supervisor.
About Metropolitan interactive, Ltd. (DBA Metinteractive)
Metinteractive is a unique design and systems integration firm specializing in the development of immersive digital environments and entertainment systems in public and private spaces. Based in Oxford, Connecticut, Metinteractive is a Women-Owned Business Enterprise with additional offices in New York, West Virginia and Nebraska. For more information, please visit www.metinteractive.com.