The World Bank Banks on Renkus-Heinz

The World Bank's atrium is a popular setting for events, but the challenges of its large size were handled by Renkus Heinz.
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Located just blocks from the White House, the World Bank opened for business at 1818 H Street on June 25, 1948. Today, the bank’s address remains the same, but as the organization’s focus has evolved, so has the footprint of its headquarters. Now a multi-building complex covering an entire city block, the World Bank is enclosed by a 150ft. tall and 150ft. wide atrium. This has proved to be a popular setting for World Bank events, including cultural activities, exhibits, presentations, and a stage for dignitaries, including the bank president, to make speeches.

Unsurprisingly, the atrium’s reflective surfaces do present some acoustical challenges, and as the space has hosted a growing number of business and theatrical events, it was time for the audio system to evolve to meet these needs. To address this challenge, World Bank officials called on Boulder, Colo., audio consultants K2 Audio.

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“It’s a pretty challenging acoustical space, with lots of standing waves and lots of echoes,” says Rodrigo Ordóñez, principal at K2 Audio.

The system also needed to be versatile enough to accommodate a variety of performance types—from bands, to dignitaries, to dance troupes—even as there were significant limitations on where the speakers themselves could be located, with coverage needing to extend to a number of smaller nooks and corners.

The system is comprised of a single Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC32-R-II digitally steered line array covering the main area, with nine ICONYX IC16-R-II cabinets distributed throughout the covered shaded areas. “We time-aligned the IC16 boxes to the main IC32 in front,” says Ordóñez. “There is no overlapping. Each speaker is covering a specific area. No matter where you are in the space, the orientation towards that front position is amazing. And the ICONYX loudspeakers are very clean—they project little to no sound out the back of it so there are no weird echoes throughout the space.”

K2 designed the loudspeaker control system to match the versatility requirements. “There are seven total presets in different modes,” says Ordóñez. “For smaller events, they can take the DSP and mute some of the speakers to direct sound towards one side of the atrium. The system remembers all the different settings and they have a touchpanel that sits in the rack and they can change it from there.”

PRODUCT AT WORK

Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC32-R-II

Designed to be heard and not seen, Renkus-Heinz’s ICONYX series of flush-mount digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems includes the ICONYX IC32-R-II and the ICONYX IC16-R-II. The former features 32 4in. coaxial transducers each with three HF tweeters, 32 amplifier and DSP channels, beam control effective down to 400Hz, multiple beams and acoustic beam centers, and multiple configuration presets, among other features. The ICONYX IC16-R-II, ideal for coverage in problematic spaces, features 16 4in. coaxial transducers each with three HF tweeters and 16 amplifier and DSP channels.

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