The major global news organisation, Al Jazeera, recently built two revolutionary broadcast production facilities – their new European headquarters in London’s landmark Shard Tower and the network’s new headquarters in Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera collaborated with Veech x Veech, an international multidisciplinary architectural design firm based in Vienna, Austria, who incorporated some of the most sophisticated techniques in design engineering and lighting design to create a series of open-air, state-of-the-art newsrooms and also the architectural design for the Network Studio Building in Doha. The design concept for both studios included a large window wall that showcases the locales outside the studio walls. Al Jazeera Creative and Technology teams required an effective solution to control the exterior light in the window. Al Jazeera teams carried out a ‘proof of concept’ at The Shard facility and RoscoVIEW was the preferred solution to that challenge.
The Al Jazeera Studio inside London’s Shard Tower
RoscoVIEW’s ability to easily control the window-exposure on set allowed the Al Jazeera crews to use their studio windows as a background for their news broadcasts. Anil Chaman, Al Jazeera’s Manager of Technology for Europe, said: “Al Jazeera network adopted the RoscoVIEW solution because we chose to have ‘live backdrops’ in many of our studio locations. We had looked at various solutions but wanted a solution that offered a permanent application and one that a single, multi-skilled Vision operator could operate with ease. After carrying out an evaluation of the RoscoVIEW system at The Shard, we were convinced we had found the right solution, which has since been deployed in our studios in Doha and Paris. The solution has also been aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.”
The design concept for both the London and the Doha studios included merging work and studio areas, interior and exterior environments, artificial lighting and natural daylight to create a flexible and versatile studio space. Stuart A. Veech, the Managing Partner and Creative Director of Veech x Veech, explains why window control via RoscoVIEW was crucial in making this project successful: “The Al Jazeera projects in London and Doha mark a significant radical shift in the design for media environments by eliminating the standard black box approach and embracing a hybrid open space where daylight merges with artificial lighting to create a highly adaptable 24/7 media space.”
When it came to the Shard Tower installation, there was great concern about the continuous variations of London’s weather, which ranges from strong direct sunlight to cloud/fog cover – all of which could have an immediate impact on the light-balance of the studio. Veech explains that “RoscoVIEW allowed a great deal of freedom to move the presenters throughout the studio and instantaneously adjust the balance between the interior and exterior conditions to create an amazing picture.”
The Al Jazeera Network Studio – Doha project was more extreme because the building that Veech x Veech designed to maximize the camera view through the panoramic glass façade was southward facing. They solved this enormous technical challenge by creating a sweeping cantilevered canopy to eliminate the direct sunlight and by installing RoscoVIEW panels in the windows to control the light balance.
Click/tap & drag to experience this interactive, 360º video-tour of Al Jazeera – Doha
RoscoVIEW was implemented onto the façade using large-scale, frameless panels, thus enhancing the overall transparency to provide optimal control of the exterior climate conditions throughout the daily broadcast cycle. Fabrication and construction was undertaken by Studio Hamburg.
Incorporating the view outside of Al Jazeera’s Doha headquarters is part of the sophisticated studio design that won NewscastStudio’s 2016 International Set of the Year Award
If you’re searching for ways to control the exterior light in your studio, be sure to explore our Spectrum blog where you can see other RoscoVIEW installations from around the world. If you’d like more information about this unique window-control solution, visit the RoscoVIEW product page on our website.