CGI was called upon to design and install a brand-new bowl sound system installation for the historic 82,000-capacity British sports venue, which is owned by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), England’s national rugby governing body.
Twickenham Stadium has been home to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and England Rugby since 1907, hosting its first match in 1909. The Stadium has constantly evolved over its long history and has always had a focus on the fan experience.
The stadium’s 20-year-old system was no longer supporting that aim so the RFU turned to Vanguardia to create a sound system that would offer the high sound pressure levels it required for the entertainment element alongside the intelligibility vital in a life safety PA/VA solution.
“The opening line to the team was that it had to be a compliant PA/VA system,” explained Steven Carver, venue project manager, RFU. “We had to make sure we were achieving British standard recommendations within the stadium bowl. Without the stadium PA system to actually broadcast those emergency messages, obviously the stadium couldn’t function, so it’s one of the key parts of the stadium.”
“Life safety is absolutely critical,” added Mark Lynch, executive director, RFU. “That’s the fundamental part of delivering and running any major stadium. But the fan experience is becoming more and more important. Creating that fan experience through audio is key, and it goes beyond rugby. We do concerts here, we do conferences and events and actually changing this place to make it a really multi-purpose stadium is underpinned by a quality audio system.”
Deploying state-of-the-art audio upgrades, the project was led by the experienced UK-based team, the results of which have catapulted Twickenham Stadium into a new era of concert-grade audio capabilities. Designed by CGI’s UK director, Eddie Thomas, and associate director Tom Williams, the project was delivered by Jake Miller, Steve Watson and John Hardy.
Starting with the original groundwork designed by environmental and technology consultants Vanguardia, a Buro Happold brand, CGI built upon this initial delivery phase by installing 16-line arrays flown from the stadium roof.
“Each hang comprises 12 JBL VLA-C2100 dual 10-inch cabinets and three JBL VLA-C125 flown sub-bass loudspeakers,” explained Williams. “The JBL VLA-C speakers use components shared with the JBL Pro VTX range for maximum sonic quality.”