Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Audiovisual Technology in the Classroom

Planning for Classroom Technology workshop Nov. 2, 2009 in Denver provides knowledge and tools that will benefit anyone involved in the planning of audiovisual technology in the classroom or providing system support. Participants will learn how to approach the integration of audiovisual systems into classroom buildings and identify potential problems. This workshop is led by Steve Thorburn himself.

Click here to read full article.
Click here for the Thorburn Associates workshop website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thorburn on Sustainability and Green Building: Can the Rhetoric!

Steve Thorburn wrote this editorial for the July 09 Systems Contractor News, about green building and sustainability practices being oversold with rhetoric when the point could be made more simply and effectively with case studies and budget numbers. "If green building is a fashion trend, rather than a core value, it is likely to be discarded as abruptly as it was taken up."

Beyond Tile: Advantages of Acoustical Ceilings

Thorburn Associates consultant Justin Meyer, based in the Raleigh-Durham NC office, wrote this article about acoustical ceilings that appears in the August 09 issue of Buildings magazine. "Acoustical ceiling products are a great boon, but must be part of an overall design solution for the best results..." writes Meyer.

Click here to see the story on the Buildings website.
Click here for the Thorburn Associates online article archive.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thorburn Associates Inc. Designs Audiovisual Systems for New Georgetown County Judicial Center

Newly opened Judicial Center in Georgetown County, South Carolina, consolidates the region's judicial services supported by a custom audiovisual system. Thorburn Associates provided AV system design under contract to Tych & Walker Architects and within a closely defined budget.

Details here.

Thorburn Associates welcomes Joe Schuch

Joe Schuch is now based out of Thorburn Associates' office in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He has joined the company as a senior associate for new learning environments. At the University of North Carolina, Schuch and his team pioneered self-serve multimedia and tele-teaching classrooms.

Full story here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Steve Thorburn's InfoComm 09 Diary

Read Steve Thorburn's daily diary from the InfoComm 09 show in Orlando, posted on the Bemusement blog from

June 20: The floor according to Steve: digital projection, audio, videoconferencing and Dopplers. Full story here.

June 19: A look around the show floor, the "cone of cooling" and the ergonomics of visualization. Dedicated to the late Kim Milliken. Full story here.

June 18: Classes in AV integration, acoustics and how to issue an RFP/RFQ. Attendees air their professional gripes and vendors hunt for clients.
Full story here.

June 17: Marketing specialist and Thorburn team member Meg Barham attends a sales workshop at the Institute for Professional Development. Full story here.

Videoconferencing: It's All About Location

By Steve Thorburn, in the June 2009 Archi-Tech:
"The goal for a good video-conferencing room is really quite straightforward. It’s all about location, location, location – for cameras, microphones, and displays, supported by uniform indirect lighting and acoustical treatments."

Read the full article here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thorburn Associates at InfoComm: Seven Sessions and a Blog

"Successful placemaking demands spaces that nurture human community through the integration of technical systems design and modern building design -- in facilities, campuses, offices, leisure attractions, museums, and performing arts centers. We call this practice Acoustically Integrated aRchitecture, or AIR. It is the foundation of the seven educational sessions we will present this year at InfoComm in Orlando, June 14-19, and of our outreach blog," says Steven J. Thorburn.

Adding a new layer this year, TA will reach out online during InfoComm via a daily editorial on the blog Bemusement, which is published on the industry website The blog will be penned by Steve Thorburn and will share observations, impressions, news and even a little name-dropping.

Read the press release here.

All Buildings are Now Theaters

Modern building design demands partnership between tech designers and architects

by Steve Thorburn

"What we're now seeing is that the integration of acoustics, engineering and architecture that is standard practice in a performing arts center is also a necessity in most every new project, because of the amount of audiovisual equipment and other technology involved. As a result, they all require a level of integrated design in the early stages comparable to what is common practice in theater development. In a very real sense, all buildings are now theaters..." Full story here.

Image of SF federal Building, courtesy

Seven Steps of Tech Design Success

by Steve Thorburn, published on and in the TEA Annual & Directory

Even the most problem-solving genius of a tech designer cannot overcome the laws of physics. I challenge you to go a day without a technical glitch somewhere – if it’s not on your computer or company network, it will be your phone, the GPS in your car, or perhaps the touch-panel on your dishwasher... Read the full article here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Change Out Film Systems for Digital Prematurely

For Small Theaters, Digital Cinema Has Benefits - For Big Theaters, Stick with Film (for now)
Article by Steve Thorburn, published in IPM Magazine.

"Digital cinema has come a long way since and has some excellent applications for theaters, but still isn’t the best choice for every situation. There are benefits: print cost goes away, the last run of the image is just as good as the first, a multiplex can quickly reschedule theaters based on today’s ticket sales. But for theaters with screens wider than 20 feet, you pay a price in image quality..." Full story here.

How to Issue an RFP/RFQ

The RFQ (request for quotation/qualifications) and RFP (request for proposal) are basic tools of project development, providing a control for identifying and evaluating designers, contractors and suppliers.
Article by Lisa Thorburn, published by Blooloop.

"Designing an appropriate and goal-oriented document of this kind takes both time and planning. To get back the best and most accurate quotes or proposals, you must be willing to provide all of the information known about the project. This is no time to withhold facts – the contractor or vendor must be fully briefed on what you seek to accomplish in order to properly assess and communicate their ability and cost to complete your project. If you have drawings already available, even if they are basic sketches, provide them. The old adage, “an image is worth a thousand words,” really holds true during a design or creative process." Full story here.

Great Expectations

Do you know what your client expects from a project? Currently, we’re experiencing life from the client side of the fence, and learning from the experience.
Article by Steve Thorburn, published in Systems Contractor News.

"We grew, we ran out of room, and nobody liked the idea of running a second shift. So we plunged into the office space Realtor thing. We located a spot that is better than our existing space. Then came the build-out plan. Being savvy AV designers who continually deal with space planning, we whipped up our base plan in about two hours and then spent the next month refining it. Our new landlord took the plan and gave it to an architectural firm voted one of the “best places to work” in the area.

I admit I got a little ruffled, professionally, at the first teleconference— when the architect began to instruct us about the design process and about how architects work, and then said the project would take six months (three times longer than the lease contract allowed.) It dawned on me that they had not prepared for our meeting..." Full story here.

The Audiovisual Acoustic Design Process

Tailoring acoustic and A/V design to the needs of the church while grasping the realities of the church building design
Article by Steve Thorburn, published in Church Solutions magazine

"The words of Pastor Jeff ring out loud and clear in the 700-seat sanctuary of the New London Presbyterian Church in New London, Pa., reaching the ears of congregants through a professional audio-visual system and acoustic treatment in the church's new, two-story, 50,000 square-foot building, which opened in time for the Christmas season. Good acoustics are important to the quality of a worship experience – and to educational and social interaction.

In the case of New London Presbyterian, the acoustic and technology consultant worked closely with New London church mission director Mark Ham to design the audio/visual and acoustics systems to serve classrooms, gathering areas, offices and a kitchen in addition to the sanctuary. How the church’s needs were reconciled with the realities of its new building is a story that will be useful to others exploring their options for sound optimization..." Full story here.