Profile: Steve Barrett-White, Royal Institute of British Architects
Paul Milligan, January 31, 2013
Steve Barrett-White first worked for worked for Acorn Computers, working on the BBC Micro, then Commodore Computers, to introduce the Amiga. After a spell at Philips and SPC, he entered the AV market, working for distributors and dealers. He joined the Royal Institute of British Architects as the only AV technician 10 years ago.
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- What are your main responsibilities?
I am responsible for the AV at the RIBA’s London offices and also responsible for the provision of AV in our regional offices around the country. On a day to day basis we provide AV for 24 conference rooms at 66 Portland Place, scheduling the in-house team and freelance technicians.
- How has your role changed over the last few years?
When I started at RIBA, we had an auditorium, the restaurant and 5 small meeting rooms, a couple of data projectors and a lot of OHP and 35mm slide projectors. We now have 24 spaces, a dedicated team of AV technicians and a responsibility for AV across the company. The majority of our rooms have a permanent AV system, and our lecture theatre has moved on from twin 35mm slide projection to a full HD system with multiple speaker sound system and DMX lighting rig.
- What’s the most important thing in your in-tray?
My latest project is the fitting out of a new Architecture Centre in the heart of Liverpool’s docks area. We will be installing digital signage, full conference facilities including projection, LED monitors and general conference facilities.
- What are key challenges for AV at The Royal Institute of British Architects?
Our number one priority is ensuring our clients receive a first class service backed by the very latest technology. As we all know one of the most difficult things to do in life is public speaking and technology often gets the blame for a poor presentation.
Another challenge operating within such a prestigious building is ensuring any installs do not ruin the aesthetic nature of the building.
- What’s the most impressive technology you’ve used?
One of the most impressive systems we are currently investigating is the Qsys audio over IP system from Shure Distribution. The system merges the world of AV and IT utilising Cat5 cabling to deliver a truly awesome sound management system over multiple floors and with access to the system via an iphone or iPad.
- What makes you tick?
My passion is sound and when not at the RIBA, I can be found recording jazz, choirs, cinema organs, orchestra’s and big bands with friends around the country and have produced a number of CD’s for the professional market.