Acentech, a world-class consultant in architectural acoustics, noise and vibration control, and audiovisual and technology systems design, announced that its collaboration with Desai Chia Architecture on the Columbia University’s new Walter and Shirley Fan Wang Esports Room received a 2023 Learning By Design Outstanding Project Award. Learning By Design is the nation’s premier source for education design innovation and excellence. The magazine annually recognizes through a juried awards process the very best in new and renovated PK-12 and high-education learning environments. 

This vibrant Wang Esports Room replaced an underused lounge in the historic Wallach residence hall located on Columbia’s Upper West Side campus. While encapsulating a state-of-the-art gaming studio into an existing space had its challenges, the design team found unique ways to integrate the power demands, data networking, a vibrant array of AV systems, acoustical treatments, MEP equipment, and lighting to create an energetic amenity for the students and the gaming community. Columbia University is one of the first Ivy League schools to build a dedicated space on campus for student gamers and esports athletes.

“Acentech’s technology/acoustics team brought their talents and collaborative spirit to every phase of this project. They seamlessly melded the AV/Telecommunications infrastructure into the architecture and consistently supported our design concepts. They were always accessible, great at brainstorming, and delivered a thoroughly detailed set of CD documents. Acentech was a truly a great fit for our team,” said Katherine Chia, FAIA, of Desai Chia Architecture. 

With the recent increase in Esports’ technological advancements and funding, higher education institutions are racing to offer collegiate Esports to all students and provide a fun location for them to socialize and compete on their campuses. It has also become an invaluable recruiting tool to draw applicants in the same way that mainstream college sports recruit student athletes.

Acentech has teamed with designers and facilities managers tasked with making their Esports vision a physical reality. Designing a competitive gaming space is not the same as designing a typical computer lab. Esports is an immersive technology space that requires the same attention to equipment, player experience, and university branding as any collegiate sports facility. Acentech can provide guidance and expertise in site selection, AV/technology programming, systems design, and commissioning. 

Team Credits:
Architecture: Desai Chia Architecture
AV System Design, Telecommunications and Acoustics: Acentech
MEP Engineering: CES Engineering
Lighting: Christine Sciulli Light + Design
Cost Estimating: Stuart-Lynn Company
Code Consultant: William Vitacco Associates
General Contractor:  Richter + Ratner