Janson + Tsai Designs Bringing Colleges into 21st Century

Company works with schools to update broadcast facilities
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NEW YORK—Just like textbooks, university facilities need to be updated every so often to make sure students have the most up to date and relevant information available to them as they prepare for the real world. For students interested in entering the broadcast industry, that means having the latest video production and audio equipment and capabilities. That’s where Janson + Tsai Designs comes in.

Janson + Tsai Designs has served the media/entertainment industry for the past 38 years, working primarily in the commercial broadcast space. However, the company first worked with colleges when it designed a new communications and broadcast studio for New York University’s Tisch School of Arts in 2008. The last three or four years have seen a significant uptake in university customers, however, according to Dennis Janson, managing partner for Janson + Tsai Designs.

Completed TV control room at Bowling Green State University. Credit: Wes Battoclette

Completed TV control room at Bowling Green State University. Credit: Wes Battoclette

When first working with colleges, Janson noticed that many of them were still using “ancient,” analog technology. “A lot of these schools have a school of communications, whether its broadcast, or media, or radio, or film production, and they’re very limited, very minimal facilities,” said Janson in an interview with Government Video. “As soon as one school or a couple schools start putting together some really good high-end facilities that mimic the professional industry, the rest of them are getting online around the same time.”

To date, Janson + Tsai Designs has completed projects for NYU, Bowling Green State University, the University of Alabama, and Wesleyan University. These projects ranged from new TV and radio studios, control rooms, music recording studios and screening rooms. Janson + Tsai is brought in to design the spaces and then works with an architectural firm to build them.

With more than 100 commercial broadcast projects under its belt, Janson + Tsai Design is very familiar with the latest technologies and practices currently in use in the professional industry and brings that to these university projects. “We bring to the table what the real world is doing out there, so that when students go to class in the new facility, it’s very similar to what they’ll experience in the real world,” said Janson.

Similar, but not identical. One of the main challenges that Janson has found when working with these schools is that a teaching environment is different than that of a professional workplace.

“If you’re doing a broadcast facility for a network it’s one thing, but when you’re doing the same thing for a teaching environment, all of a sudden in the control room you need 20 other people,” Janson explained. “Everything becomes magnified and larger to accommodate a number of students.”

Janson + Tsai Designs is working on a new facility for Rochester Institute of Technology and has helped design a 7,000-square-foot sound stage, 275-seat screening room, audio mixing room and color correction room that is expected to be completed by spring 2018. The sound stage will be available for student use as well as outside professionals at times when it is not in use by the school. The screening room will be complete with two projectors, including a 4K-capable unit.

We may be heading into 2018, but as Janson sees it, many schools are just not looking to make the move into the 21st century with their broadcast facilities yet; but he expects that more and more schools will be continuing to update their educational offerings over the next couple of years.


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