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With Purpose - CEDIA Award Winner

February 20, 2009 By Brooke Lange



Click the images below for bigger versions:
 “The ebb and flow of the project’s design process— with the clients’ unique input and the design team’s creativity—made for stunning results.” —John Baumeister, Baumeister Electronic Architects
The electronic systems consultant describes this project as “totally organic” because it kept growing and growing. “We learned how to accommodate for that,” he says.
With Purpose
 “The owner can create a mood anywhere in the house at the call of a button and make it stealth.”
With Purpose keypads

2008 Cedia Electronic Lifestyles Award Winner

Integrated home: Level V Silver Technical Design & Best Overall Winner

Electronic Systems Consultant: Baumeister Electronic Architects—Niles, Ill.

The architect of this home likes to use the word “purposeful” when describing the motivation behind its design. “It’s very purposeful with specific places for art,” says Mark Webber of Wheeler Kearns Architects. “There’s balance between the house, art and architecture.”

The same is true of the A/V system. It’s not a rattle-the-rafters kind of set-up, yet it’s very high quality, intuitive and reliable. “They’re not audiophiles,” says electronic systems consultant John Baumeister of Baumeister Electronic Architects.

 “The ebb and flow of the project’s design process— with the clients’ unique input and the design team’s creativity—made for stunning results.” —John Baumeister, Baumeister Electronic Architects

“The owners want to entertain and display their art. They’re not trying to impress people with technology.”

Ordinarily that would be a simple order, but given that most of the video art placement—pieces that run off computers and plasma TVs—was up in the air at the time, Baumeister had to imagine every possibility before a single commission arrived. The ability to change out the video-and-audio-based art easily and seamlessly provided another layer of complexity.

“The client said ‘do what you think you need to do so I won’t have problems,’” Baumeister says. “He wanted us to wire the project so he could control and display anything.” On top of that, the floor plan grew exponentially at the project’s halfway mark with the addition of a 2,500-square-foot private art gallery.

In addition, the client was technologically gun-shy due to a bad experience with another electronic systems consultant. “So we had to design a bulletproof system—and anticipate technology upgrades,” says Baumeister.

The electronic systems consultant describes this project as “totally organic” because it kept growing and growing. “We learned how to accommodate for that,” he says.

The flexible infrastructure designed for the art gallery required that all wiring be pulled through conduit, but none of that could be extended across the ceiling due to its grid nature (instead, the conduit runs through the cement flooring and walls).

Intuitive Crestron wireless touch screens, remotes and keypads allow the owners to manage and illuminate their art, the automated blinds, HVAC system, security system, as well as access their audio collection or any of the home’s nine TVs. Not surprisingly, all technology had to be concealed.

With PurposeTake, for instance, the art gallery next door, equipped with a custom-made 14-foot multimedia projection screen on a roller.

“It can block out light when they want it to, and it can be used as a movie screen,” says Baumeister.

“They didn’t know how they were going to use the space at the time of design, and they weren’t sure if they’d watch movies in that room.”

Now they can display their video art on the screen. And when the screen retracts, Lake Michigan, Chicago’s armory and the contemporary art museum, as well as the Navy Pier and Millennium Park, become a living landscape.

The gallery’s modular lighting system is a work in progress: It illuminates pieces at precise angles, and activates specific technology-related pieces upon entering the room—such as the suitcase, which plays a “lullaby for a traveling salesman.”

The owner can activate his music of choice from the Escient E-120 music server, or he can turn on any aspect of the room from the wireless Crestron touch panel.

This high level of concealed technology continues in the main home.

The master suite, which offers a stunning lakefront view, is equipped with a 42-inch Fujitsu TV that vanishes in the ceiling via a LiftTech mount. “They like to watch TV in bed, but there was no place to accommodate a wall-mounted TV,” Baumeister says. The sound-proof home theater—fueled by a Sonance Silhouette surround-sound system, a Lexicon processor and Lexicon amplifier—offers flexible TV-viewing on a 55-inch Fujitsu.

“They wanted really good technology that can help them live their best life,” Baumeister says.

“That’s exactly what we gave them.”

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