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Historic Buenos Aires Building Revitalized As Di Tella University Campus Alcorta

WSDG Provides Acoustic, A/V & Interactive Expertise To Educational Complex

BUENOS AIRES: A once grand, but long-abandoned, state building, has been reclaimed as the new Di Tella University Campus Alcorta in Buenos Aires. A work in progress since 2004, the ambitious re-development was designed and coordinated by RDR Arquitectos, an architectural firm with offices in Argentina and Switzerland. The multi-national, Walters-Storyk Design Group provided integral acoustic design and consultation, and played a key role in the project’s audio/visual and interactive technology system integration.

“The original (1937) 31,000 sq. ft. + State Water Company Building was decommissioned in 1990,” states WSDG, Partner Sergio Molho. “Comparing historical pictures with contrasting photos of the structure’s deterioration confirmed it had ‘good bones,’ and tremendous potential. “Images of derelict offices and meeting rooms served as a catalyst, our entire design team was inspired by the opportunity to bring a useful new life to this structure.”

WSDG devised a three-stage plan to revitalize the building. The process began with a comprehensive acoustical measurement and analysis program, which formed the basis for their overall systems integration plan. This included: acoustical isolation, control of reverberation time, solutions to improve speech intelligibility (STI); audio/visual technology, interactive screens, microphones and speakers to support communications between classrooms and off-campus locations. Crestron Automation Systems were engaged to facilitate complete lighting, communications, energy and security system management.

A 2000 sq. ft. multi-media screening room was created and outfitted with a large HD screen, Blu-ray, projector, receiver and a 5.1 surround system. A studio-quality acoustical door and pro acoustical wall and ceiling treatments were stipulated for optimal sound isolation between theater, classrooms and hallways. WSDG also supervised the AV technology installation to meet professional standards.
Construction of Di Tella University began in 2004 under the direction of renowned Argentinean architect, Clorindo Testa. Planned in stages, the program enabled Di Tella to commence activities on Campus that year. The ultimate goal was to completely restore the main building and link it to the University’s neighboring facilities to create a unified campus. Remodeling continued through 2011 when the University moved forward with the final stages of the project, bringing all its majors and programs under one roof.
The large common areas are located in the basement, main and first floor, including the library, classrooms, reading rooms, workshops, canteen, and student services. The second floor features a large classroom to promote collaboration between students from all levels. Offices for faculty members, researchers and University authorities are situated on the third floor. The fourth floor is distinguished by a multi purpose room, with impressive river views.

With 32 classrooms, reading rooms, a multi-media screening room, 5 conference rooms and 130 offices, Di Tella University offers eight undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Architecture, Economics, History, International Relations, Law, and Political Science and Government. The Business School offers a variety of Executive Education programs, and the schools of Architecture and Urban Studies and the Art Department offer professional development programs. The University provides over 50 exchange programs with universities in Europe, North America, South America, Australia, Africa and Asia. Current enrollment stands at 1000+ undergraduate and over 1500 graduate and professional students. On-going expansion of Di Tella’s curriculum, faculty, and graduate programs underscored the need to develop Campus Alcorta.

“This project engaged members of the entire WSDG team,” Sergio Molho emphasizes. “Designers, project managers and systems integrators from all six of our international offices made meaningful contributions to this project. WSDG has worked on a number of University assignments, from the NYU Steinhardt Center to the new Berklee College of Music Valencia campus, and the $100 + million Berklee Boston campus currently under construction. WSDG is committed to education and we are extremely proud of our association with Di Tella University.”

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Photos:

1-3 Di Tella University Buenos Aires
4 Abandoned State Water Company Building prior to reclamation as Di Tella U

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