Al Jazeera Arabic Newsroom – Doha
Making a response to the growing demand for multichannel, multiplatform broadcast environments, VXV designed open-plan production facilities that combine live newsgathering, digital media and automated lighting. Architecture and broadcast design were seamlessly combined to leverage the potentials new digital media create.
The global shift towards 4G newsrooms is fuelling the demand for networked digital spaces and integrated data distribution systems. When Al Jazeera Media Network commissioned VXV to create the new flagship broadcast studio and newsroom for their Arabic-language broadcast service in their Doha headquarters, the forward-looking facility they designed set a new standard for the industry.
Conceived as a hybrid broadcast studio and production workplace, the 1,100m² studio contains three individual sets bordered by open-plan areas with space for 100 workstations. Constructed in a space spanning two levels, the studio and workplace are flanked by galleries that provide egress for visitors and employees from other parts of the complex. The facility’s long, lateral proportions and 360º perspectives provides space for more than 70 different camera positions and sweeping vantage points across all parts of the studio. The studio’s fluid layout also creates the flexibility to develop individual sets and special formats for regular programmes and ‘breaking news’ bulletins.
A wide range of broadcast technologies were integrated into architectural components and digitally-enabled surfaces to make media migration from one news production system to another as seamless as possible. The technologies automatically capture contextual metadata collected during newsgathering and make it easier for the production team to synchronise it with on-screen graphics, video clips and Augmented Reality visuals. The studio facilitates dynamic communications between newsroom computer systems and news production systems. Embedded technologies relay data to the lighting systems, cuing them to alter illumination levels, change colour or respond to new camera angles.
The studio was designed with a 3D immersive graphic area and responsive LED surfaces that reconfigure lighting levels and colour tones as new segments are broadcast. The synergy between the built structures and the technologies enables the newsroom to transcend the limitations imposed by traditional studios and perform like a multimedia workflow engine. ‘We designed all elements of the space to facilitate the fast-paced nature of newsgathering and reporting,’ says Stuart Veech. ‘As a result, the newsroom is dynamic, interactive and flexible enough to meet the needs of all the teams involved.’
The central news desk designed for the studio was crafted in the signature contouring shape that characterises the set in Al Jazeera’s London newsroom. The news desk, together with the curvilinear forms that characterise the studio backdrops, provides visual links between the two spaces to reinforce the network’s brand identity across its broadcast channels. ‘Just as the digital media animates space with information, the architecture and design features enable the production team to generate and transmit content in new ways,’ says Stuart Veech. ‘It makes Al Jazeera’s output even more unique, because few other broadcasters have been able to build such a technologically-advanced brand.’
As broadcast environments become increasingly digitalised, VXV are designing for an increasingly virtual world. Intangible features, such as transparency, fluidity, flow and agility are as essential to production and broadcast as they are to the spatial parameters inside the studio. As a result, the new studio comprises a multichannel system that merges media production and metadata intake into a single workflow, making production and distribution flexible, faster and more efficient.
- Al Jazeera Media Network
- Doha, Qatar
- Design Team:
- Stuart A. Veech, Mascha Veech-Kosmatschof, Thomas Milly, Bernhard Trummer, Vladimir Ivanov, Mihai Potra
- Set Construction:
- MCI Studio Hamburg
- ©Hufton + Crow