Colleges across the United States are in constant competition for prestige, academic excellence and student enrollment. As Indiana University embarked on an ambitious project to launch two new schools and a brand new building, the design team responsible for the projects wanted to ensure that each school’s building captured the attention and enthusiasm of students, faculty and visitors — all of whom are closely connected to their technology. In short, they wanted the buildings to deliver a ‘WOW’ factor that would immediately demonstrate that Indiana University is always ahead of the times.
Students have a choice, and when it comes to their university – tuition is not the only deciding factor. For millennial students and younger, those who have grown up with a smart phone in their pocket, digital innovation is a major deciding factor. With the opportunity to upgrade not one, but two buildings, Indiana University had quite a challenge in front of them. The first involved the university’s new home for the Global and International Studies Building. With a large atrium space, school administrators envisioned a space with a sense of community that would bring students of all kinds together. Also knowing that the atrium would host a series of everyday events such as independent study and impromptu gatherings; the space would need to pull ‘double duty’. They wanted something with a “wow” factor that was just as much a piece of art as it was a tool to communicate information.
The second challenge involved Franklin Hall, a beautiful as well as historic stone structure and the heart of IU’s campus. The new Media School not only needed an interior facelift but also a technology upgrade to keep up with the demands of its millennial students. Like the new building for the school of Global and International Studies, Franklin Hall also enjoys a large community space. Given that this building would house all things involving journalism, communications, and film; leadership wanted a visual element that could communicate the school’s focus as well as play news, sports, and other live events.
Needing a technology that blended seamlessly with the architecture of the building, VPS Architecture was looking for a custom solution, purpose built for the space. After having the opportunity to see NanoLumens displays up close, Chuck Carney, Director of Communications and Marketing was sold.
Rising to the challenge, NanoLumens created seven parallel ‘informational’ blade displays to be attached to limestone columns in the Global and International Studies Building’s atrium. Installed in time for the 2016 spring commencement ceremonies, the displays were utilized to display the name of each student graduating.
For the new media school, it was not only important to engage students and visitors with news and information, but also to show that the campus and programs are technologically advanced. Jay Kinkaid, Director of Facilities and Technology wanted a large video display that looked like it was floating above the atrium. From the beginning, he envisioned a giant flat screen digital display that was vibrant and could be flexible in all of the content the school wanted to display, from televised events to school-related information.
In partnership with VPS Architecture and Sensory Technologies, NanoLumens custom-built a 24’ X 12’ rectangular display that regularly displays presentations, television broadcasts, and even as six distinct screens through a splitscreen interface.
The new Media School is housed in one of the most beautiful collegiate gothic buildings on Indiana University’s campus. Originally, it was built in 1907 as the university’s library. The transformation into a modern, technology rich learning environment meant a complete renovation and reorganization of spaces. The Commons is at the heart of the design, located in the middle of the building and all other spaces are organized around it. According to Sarah Schuler of VPS Architecture, the space was designed to showcase what the Media School offers while allowing students, faculty and visitors a place to converge and engage. The media wall by NanoLumens energizes the spaces: it is the focal point of the Commons. Since the opening of the Media School, this space is always filled and very lively. All this adds up to an incredible media space, according to Andrew Sellers, principal of Indianapolis-based Sensory Technologies. It is a place for students to engage with content and with each other. It’s a place to watch the everpopular IU Hoosiers basketball games as a group, a place to remind students that they are at one of the best media schools in the world and to make an impact on visitors who may consider applying to IU. As for the seven parallel information displays in the new Global and International Studies Building, staff and visitors are equally enamored, with many passersby snapping photos of the unique installation. Already the school has used the blades to offer recognition of every graduate in a scrolling feed during convocation, and to feature the words “Indiana University” in each of the more than 70 languages the school teaches.
It creates an eye-catching arrangement for visitors as each blade displays a different color and features constantly moving visuals. To hear school officials tell it, the displays are impossible to miss.
“Physically, the building is in the middle of campus and serves as a connector to parts of campus. The idea was to make this a place that people noticed. You don’t walk through it and ignore it. The blades were designed to fit into our commitment of doing big things in a big way.” - Chuck Carney, Director of Communication and Marketing, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies.
In the School of Global and International Studies, NanoLumens and Sensory Technologies installed 7, ¾’ X 24’ tall 5.6 pixel pitch NanoSlim digital display blades in the atrium. While in the Franklin Hall new Media School, a 24’ X 12’ 2.5 pixel pitch NanoSlim rectangular LED display was mounted on trusses to appear as if it is floating over Franklin Hall’s atrium.