The Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois is an ornate building, with a main sanctuary that rises 138ft to its ceiling. White concrete and crushed quartz ornamentation cover the internal façade, with 54 columns throughout the main seating area. The design creates nine separate alcoves of seating, each angled toward the centre of the room where a lectern sits among one section of the pillars.

Bahá’í House of WorshipOpen daily from 6am to 8pm and used,primarily for personal prayer, reflection and meditation, the sanctuary is a ‘quiet and safe space to go inward and revitalise your sense of purpose in the world.’

Still, there are occasions when services require live sound. While the Bahá’í faith has no clergy, members do lead daily devotionals twice a day. Also, on the first three Sundays of every month, the Baha’i House of Worship choir performs. When sound amplification is necessary, there is a need to reach every member of the room – even though the building’s layout presents architectural challenges to audio sytem performance. The chosen solution was Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx steered beam arrays.

‘The Iconyx allowed for us to address the seating area with better coverage and gain before feedback than the original array,’ says Sound Planning Associates VP of Sales & System Design, Erik Saari, who managed the installation. ‘The new system improved intelligibility and coverage while remaining invisible to the audience.’

Bahá’í House of WorshipThe Iconyx IC24-RN is the primary loudspeaker used in the church. Iconyx arrays use digital steering technology to position sound where it is required and away from the peculiarities of the room. The loudspeakers also needed to be placed behind a curtain, and directly behind the lone lectern.

‘Renkus-Heinz’ solutions were critical here because, through the software, we were able to adjust the acoustic center to a higher point on the array,’ said Aaron Johnson, the A/V Consultant at Threshold Acoustics who designed the system. ‘This allowed us to avoid the lectern and to get much, much better coverage up close in the front row while still placing sound all the way at the back.’

The system also uses six TX81 Compact Two-Way Complex Conic Loudspeakers to improve coverage across the alcoves. These are hidden as well – behind grates that once concealed by an old HVAC system.

‘Having integrated many Iconyx systems over the years, I would place this project in the top five,’ Saari saya. ‘The client was initially concerned that the array would not cover the area; but in the end, they were impressed with the outcome.’

More: www.renkus-heinz.com

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