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City of London





Fit-out Contractor:



Aviva is a British multinational insurance company headquartered in the City of London. With more than 34 million customers located across 16 countries worldwide, this organisation is the largest general insurer in the UK and a leading life and pensions provider.

In the Summer of 2015, Aviva started the refurbishment of its existing reception and meeting room facilities on the ground floor and basement areas of its St Helen’s headquarters building, an iconic 23-storey, 387ft. skyscraper. The refurbishment called for floor space extensions on these lower floors to align with the upper floors and accommodate the AV specification designed by AV consultants, CMS.

The project brief

With a nine-month project programme assigned for the installation of the audio visual works, the project required an experienced delivery team capable of managing a tight programme. The schedule included the installation and commissioning of three  large format LED video walls, including the magnificent 18-metre curved auditorium video wall. The project delivery team comprised Senior Project Manager, Site Manager, eight engineers, two commissioners and two programmers. 

One of the early risks identified by the team was the potential for programme delays as a result of site logistics and deliveries and long lead times on specialist AV equipment. To mitigate these risks, early design coordination with other trades was key as was the need to establish an efficient design and preconstruction phase to include weekly reporting to ensure a consistent, four-week view on the project programme could be maintained.

Early engagement on the support contract regarding onsite FM services during the project delivery has been particularly beneficial and given the two contracted FM engineers the right level of exposure and training on the AV systems installed. This has taken place on the latter phases of the project programme when systems have gone live on the client network; this transitional engineering phase continued through to project handover before being instituted as a dedicated onsite support resource, post project completion.

The following schedule of areas and centralised audio visual services highlights the scope of AV requirements for this exciting project:

  • Basement - auditorium with dedicated control room
  • Ante room (breakout area)
  • 'Agora’ specialised meeting room
  • 9 meeting rooms
  • Mezzanine floor including 3 meeting rooms
  • V Central Equipment Room
  • Ground Floor - main reception

The key technologies deployed for the Aviva UK HQ AV scheme include the following:

  • Crestron Control touch panels, DigitalMedia infrastructure and switching
  • 18m(w) x 3.5m(h), 1.5mm pixel pitch curved LED video wall (Auditorium)
  • 2no. 7.2m(w) x 4.1m(h), 2.5mm pixel pitch LED video walls (Reception)
  • Large format displays (LFDs) ranging from 55” to 95”
  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing (wired and wireless)
  • Dual Christie X20 Spyder video processors for auditorium display control and switching
  • High end video resources, including: 2no. Apple Mac Pros, Apple TV, VC codecs, HD video capture and streaming system

Challenges, risks and innovations

Several challenges were identified early on in the project that required careful consideration. Solid floors meant all cable routes needed to be accurately mapped out prior to works taking place while wire ways within meeting rooms had to be chased into floors, which meant that all setting out, including furniture, had to be completed with meticulous precision.

The key challenge of this refurbishment project was overcoming the obstacles that emerged when the main contractor moved onto each subsequent area of work, so proAV has had to demonstrate a flexible and adaptive approach to our mechanical design throughout every phase of the programme. 

Leading the innovation on this project is the curved Unilumin 1.5mm pixel pitch LED video wall. This is the first of its kind in the UK and is a remarkable 18m wide and 3.5m high display that provides a maximum resolution of 11,520px x 2160px. Dual Christie X20 Spyder video processors drive the video processing behind this LED video wall - a unique configuration delivering an industry defining solution. Due to the scale of this video wall, a number of factors required careful considerations, including the curve angle, heat output, power requirements and architectural finish, which have all had a significant effect on how the auditorium was built.

Ensuring the auditorium area was fully clean and clear from other trades prior to the construction of the curved LED wall was key to mitigating any risk that posed a threat in delaying its installation. proAV, in conjunction with the main contractor, had to install a temporary enclosure around the 18-meter wide video wall in order to keep the area dust free. This allowed the video wall to be installed while other works in the auditorium continued with the enclosure only being removed once the entire room was completely dust free.

proAV committed to working alongside the appointed creative content services company to provide bespoke content for the reception LED video walls and to ensure this content is designed appropriately, works efficiently and displayed correctly. Indeed this has added another level of commissioning and testing carried out by proAV’s technical team.