Genelec help create award-winning soundscape in New Children’s Hospital

Genelec help to create an award-winning soundscape in New Children’s Hospital, Helsinki

The New Children’s Hospital in Helsinki, opened in late 2018 and the new €170M state-of-the-art facility uses art and play, combined with the latest digital technology to provide the highest quality medical care in a safe, reassuring environment for the children and their families. The soundscape is fully networked, thanks in part to the use of 39 Genelec 8430A IP loudspeakers. The soundscape design was recently awarded the Grand Prix in the soundscapes and ambient sound category of the 2019 International Sound Awards in Hamburg.

Antti Ikonen, Head of Sound in New Media at Aalto University, and ten of his MA students were responsible for the mammoth task of developing the content. Antti said: “All the audio material is hosted in a single computer which generates and renders the soundscapes before feeding them out to each floor and location via the hospital’s IP network.”
The soundscape is delivered via 39 Genelec 8430A IP loudspeakers and ten AIC25 in-ceiling loudspeakers distributed throughout the hospital’s lobbies and corridors from the underground car park all the way up to the top floor.

Jon-Patrik Kuhlefelt, sound technician and digital audio specialist from the Sibelius Academy at Helsinki’s University of the Arts, also played an important role in the technical system design and content planning for the soundscape. “The heart of the system is the Mac Pro running a Max/MSP patch,” he said. “A Focusrite REDNET PCIeR audio interface in the Mac Pro feeds Dante streams to a BSS BLU-806DA DSP processor that is used mainly for muting all the loudspeakers in case of a fire alarm. From there, the outputs are fed to the Genelec 8430A IP loudspeakers via AES67. Finally, we have a Focusrite REDNET AM2
feeding the AIC25s.”

Jon-Patrik highlighted the advantage of using active speakers with on-board amplification: “There are nearly 100 Genelec loudspeakers throughout the building in total – in addition to those used for the soundscape project, there are over fifty 4000 Series loudspeakers, mainly the compact 4020Cs, found in meeting rooms and conference areas throughout the hospital – that would have been a lot of amplifiers to house!”

Antti said: “Genelec was an ideal partner for such an ambitious and challenging project as the New Children’s Hospital soundscape. In addition to providing the
loudspeakers, Genelec helped the sound design team to resolve the technical issues which
were inevitable in such pioneering work.”