The newly constructed 8,300-square-feet Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY will welcome 300 business and political leaders on Mon., May 17, for WHYY’s ninth annual President’s Dinner. The dinner, in which WHYY will honor NPR broadcaster Carl Kasell with its Lifelong Learning Award, will be the first formal event held in the state-of-the-art education facility designed by KSS Architects.
The Hamilton Public Media Commons broke ground just one year ago. The new facility, which will have an official opening ceremony later this year, will significantly enhance and expand the nationally-acclaimed public media organization’s educational, studio and digital production capabilities. The project also renovated 5,100 sf of the WHYY’s existing Technology Center.
“The Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons will provide an environment to teach, coach, and inspire children, teens, adults and other community partners to become participants in the media creation process as a way to enhance their own community needs,” said WHYY President and CEO William J. Marrazzo.
The President’s Dinner will be held in the Hamilton Public Media Commons’ new high-tech Lincoln Financial Digital Education Studio, which will be WHYY’s largest studio facility with 3,200 sf of studio space and an additional 1,500 sf of support spaces.
KSS designed the new studio to be not only an advanced production and recording space, but also a versatile multipurpose room, said David Zaiser, AIA, a partner at KSS Architects.
“We designed the studio to highlight the specialized mission of the Public Media Commons and to still blend with the existing WHYY Technology Center,” Zaiser said.
The studio can accommodate myriad event types including a digital classroom and lecture hall for educating students and community members; a town hall forum with seating around a raised platform stage; and dinner and fundraising events with stations for food access and catering functions.
The studio also features a 16-ft-by-9-ft high-definition rear project wall and a versatile pipe grid that accommodates flexible lighting, loudspeakers and flat panel displays in support of the many room functions.
One of the most exciting features of the Hamilton Public Media Commons is also the most visible. On the building’s prominent west facade on 7th Street, 144 state-of-the-art LED display panels cover the 25-feet high by 68-feet long exterior wall. The bright, translucent white screens, which also function as a rain screen, can be programmed to work individually or in unison to project colorful, dynamic lighting displays that span the entire building facade.
The Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY will become the place for students and community members to learn how to share ideas and stories through digital video, audio and new media. Designed to be part classroom, part performance and production space and, most importantly, a community connectivity center, the lab will foster greater communication between individuals and their communities through the power of digital media.