Kittiyakhan, Thammasat University, Thailand

Find out more about Kittiyakhan at Thammasat University, an installation that won Vichai Trading 1983 the 2021 Inavation Award Education Project category.

Universities want to be able to schedule their own events and activities in accordance with Covid-19 regulations and directives and this is made much easier if the venue and facilities are owned rather than rented.

Serving to highlight these trends, along with being representative of modern education spaces, is the 2021 Inavation Award Education Project winner, Kittiyakhan at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus.

Vichai Trading 1983 was engaged by Thammasat University to acquire and install audio, visual, house lighting, stage lighting, rigging, control and digital signage systems for a prime space.

Kittiyakhan is a 3,500-seat auditorium named after Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendira Debyavati, the eldest daughter of the current King Rama X of Thailand.

The intent of the development of the auditorium and its surrounding facilities was to create a smarter city in the Rangsit area of the Pathum Thani province, complete with a mega meeting and convention (MICE) facility, enabling the university to host a range of activities and events, covering arts, culture, lecture, as well as meetings. This would also provide citizens living in the north of Bangkok and the lower central provinces the ability to hold MICE activities without traveling into downtown Bangkok.

But during development, Vichai Trading 1983 had another set of key requirements that it had to meet. Poj Phatrapakdee, sales manager from Vichai Trading 1983, says: “The main usage of the Kittiyakhan auditorium is to host Thammasat University’s graduation ceremony and this event is actually presided and attended by the King or Thai Royalty. The graduation ceremony might happen just twice a year, but due to the attendance of the King it is the most important thing for us to consider when deploying AV systems and solutions.”

Designs for the AV system at Kittiyakhan were handled by an independent, third-party consultant. Vichai Trading 1983 worked closely in collaboration to ensure that the proposed systems translated to the specific requirements of the space.

There were challenges faced at the start and Phatrapakdee details: “Usually, auditorium halls in Thailand seat around 2,000 people, while Kittiyakhan auditorium seats 3,500 which already makes it larger. In addition, it has a 40m stage, which is significantly larger than others. The space was previously used as a gymnasium which meant that it was particularly challenging with respect to acoustics and reverberation. There were limitations with the ceiling which also caused difficulty in audio design and loudspeaker selection. Taking all of this into account, we had to work with the consultant to ensure that every seat in Kittiyakhan got the best experience for both audio and video.”

Lighting at Kittiyakhan is delivered by Philips Strand Lighting with Helvar lighting control along with Robe moving heads.

We move on to the audio system where QSC line array loudspeaker and amplifiers have been paired with a Biamp DSP which handles processing duties. Audio-Technica microphones and Midas mixer complete the audio system.

Regarding the audio system Phatrapakdee says: “This was a long project, with the design being done four to five years before the deployment. While Kittiyakhan is not a theatre, we still had to make sure that the audio quality was top-notch and covered all the seats while also staying within budget. The products that we have selected were all chosen with these considerations in mind.”

With the video system, the university has made the interesting decision to go with both projection and LED. Phatrapakdee explains the choice: “We have the best of both worlds at Kittiyakhan auditorium. With the LED videowall, we have a premium display that is versatile and flexible and can be used for a number of activities and functions. The projection system serves as a backup and gives the auditorium further flexibility.”

Video signal transmission is accomplished via AV over IP with Imag Systems encoders and decoders. Phatrapakdee says: “The entire project was completed in phases. The audio portion was phase one, and visuals and control systems were deployed later. By that time AV over IP had become the standard and it was an easy choice for us to go down that route. As I previously mentioned, the Kittiyakhan auditorium used to be a gymnasium. Choosing AV over IP for signal transmission really simplified the cabling for us and that was a huge bonus when we were retrofitting cables into the existing infrastructure.”

The video system is completed with Lumens cameras, Da-lite projection screen and Wolfvision wireless presentation.

AMX is used for control and Phatrapakdee says: “The usage of the auditorium is quite simple at present. Since Thammasat University wants to use it for its graduation ceremony, there is not much complex control logic that needs to be implemented. But, this is truly a world-class facility with great AV systems and the university intends on using it as a performance and events venue in the future which can be accomplished quite easily with a few additions. With this in mind, we chose an AMX control system which would scale with the needs of Kittiyakhan.”

Looking back at the project, Phatrapakdee talks about an interesting challenge faced by the integrator: “There were not many challenges on the installation side and for once we had enough time to complete our work. But there was an interesting challenge with regards to the King’s seating. Of course, the King is seated in a prime location with the best view of the stage. But it was a requirement that there be no lighting, no rigging, no loudspeakers and no equipment of any sort above the King’s seating area. And yet the seating area had to have good lighting and good audio and video. We worked with the consultant to overcome this challenge.”

In addition to the Kittiyakhan auditorium, Vichai Trading 1983 also equipped a concert hall and a black box theatre with the requisite AV systems.

The 200-seat concert hall was built to be used by the Faculty of Liberal Arts of Thammasart University. Phatrapakdee provides additional details: “The university wanted the performers to be able to play instruments and sing and for the sound to carry all the way through the space without voice lift. It has been designed as an ‘acoustic’ hall but we have provided it with AV for versatile functionality allowing the hall to host MICE functions as well.”

The Concert Hall features QSC loudspeakers and amplifier, together with a Biamp DSP, Audio-Technica microphones a Midas digital mixer. Lighting is handled by Philips Strand lighting control and Robe moving heads.

The 240 seats Black Box Theatre is also another important and versatile space to be used by the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Phatrapakde says: “Here, the AV systems were installed so that this space would be able to capture all the imagination and show the creativity of the students. While this space answers to the needs of the internal university usage, it is also able to be rented out for MICE functions as well.”

The Black Box Theatre features Tannoy loudspeakers paired with Biamp DSP, Audio-Technica microphones and Midas digital mixer. Lighting is handled by Philips Strand and Helvar lighting control and Robe moving heads.

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