|TOA Europe is celebrating a huge new audio network installation at OpernTurm|
Due to open later this year, the OpernTurm (literally 'Opera Tower') is the latest addition to Frankfurt's celebrated skyline. Comprising a 170 m high-rise building and a 26 m low-rise perimeter development, OpernTurm derives its name from Frankfurt's historic opera house, the Alte Oper, which faces it across Opernplatz.
Designed by Frankfurt-based architect Christoph Mäckler, OpernTurm is the latest development by Tishman Speyer Properties, whose last major investment in Frankfurt was the OperaTurm - the 257 m high 'giant pencil' that has stood at the entrance to Messe Frankfurt since 1991 and is known to tens of thousands of tradeshow-goers from all over the world.
Though not as high as OperaTurm, which became Europe's tallest building when completed, OpernTurm has already become a landmark building for other reasons. It is one of the first new office buildings in Europe to be certified according to Gold rated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green construction standards, and has been designed to consume 23% less energy than the guideline stipulated by EnEV 2007 - Germany's latest set of energy-saving regulations.
To help achieve these results, OpernTurm uses a sophisticated BMS (Building Management System) based on LONworks protocols, under which all IT and related technical hardware is equipped with a standard chip, allowing intercommunication between any two pieces of equipment at any point on the building's network. SPIE delivered a complete fire alarm, voice evacuation and paging backbone for the project. SPIE in turn partnered with Hellwig Tonanlagen, based in nearby Bensheim, to design and install the audio elements of the system, using TOA SX-2000 and VM-3000 audio management systems as hubs.
SPIE delivered a complete fire alarm, voice evacuation and paging backbone for the project
"In total there are some 13 racks of TOA equipment, including a whopping 78 VM-3000 units and six SX-2000s acting as master controllers, and over 3,000 TOA loudspeakers," reveals Torsten Hellwig, managing director, Hellwig Tonanlagen. "The scale of the project is enormous - with 42 floors of offices in the main tower and a further seven in the low-rise section, plus a conference centre, a casino and other leisure facilities, not to mention a series of themed gardens which connect the buildings together. With their ability to distribute multiple channels of audio digitally, plus their inherent scalability and flexibility, TOA products are the obvious solution in a project such as OpernTurm."
TOA Germany supported the project throughout with technical assistance and design consultancy. Wolfgang Pein, sales manager, Germany at TOA Europe, comments: "At TOA we pride ourselves on being able to support our customers throughout the process, from initial tendering through to system commissioning and beyond. You don't just buy boxes from us. This is increasingly important as the worlds of fire detection, PA/VA and security become more deeply integrated.
"Designed with full network integration and compliance with EN 54 standards in mind, the SX-2000 and new VM-3000 are perfectly suited to installations like OpernTurm. We are delighted to have been chosen as a key supplier to such a technically sophisticated and prestigious new commercial building."
While the scale and technical complexity of OpenTurm are themselves outstanding, the project also required great attention to detail, as Hellwig's Cirullies explains: "Culturally, this is a very important building for the city of Frankfurt. Its lobby areas allow direct access from Bockenheimer Landstrasse to the historic Rothschildpark for the first time since the 1960s, and park itself has been specially extended. The architect was very keen for this space to be as aesthetically 'clean' as possible, so we partnered with an acoustic consultancy, Barth Acoustics, to design custom enclosures that would keep the architect happy, while also integrating seamlessly with the TOA network to provide the required intelligibility."
Work began on the construction of OperaTurm in late 2006 and the building opened in late 2009.