Unity Church was founded in 1871 in Oak Park, IL. In 1905, a lightning strike started a fire which destroyed the wood-framed church. A young architect named Frank Lloyd Wright was then brought in to design the new Unity Temple. Wright was living in Oak Park at the time and also came from a family of Unitarians. The Temple was completed in 1908 and is considered by many architects to be the first modern building in the world.
Pentegra Systems collaborated with Talaske Consultants to install an audiovisual, security and data network design build solution. Given the aging nature of Unity Temple and the timeless historical aesthetic of the facility, the newly installed technology had to be as inconspicuous as possible. The challenge was to enhance the technology in and around this building to give it all the modern day functionality of a fully integrated, multi-discipline system. This all had to be done without sacrificing the classic motif and overall look of both the interior and exterior of Unity Temple.
Pentegra Systems installed an extensive audiovisual solution for Unity Temple. Spaces such as houses of worship need the proper technology when presenting to audiences of varying sizes. The congregation needs to be able to see and hear what is going at all times and this can be accomplished with the appropriate technologies. At the heart of the audio portion of this A/V installation is a state of the art digital mixing system. This mixing system controls and manages all of the sound from within the temple. Pentegra installed a microphone system and mechanically steerable ultra compact line array speakers using equipment that could easily be hidden or concealed to maintain the overall aesthetics of the temple. With this improved sound system, everyone within the temple can hear the preacher and the music clearly. On the video side of this project, a projection system was installed. A top of the line digital laser projector was installed on the north end of the temple with a projection screen. This projection system is used to display the feed captured by the multi-purpose HD network camera to record the sermon to make it easier for all in attendance to watch. This projection system has full video playback and recording capabilities. The projector can present various images, presentations, videos, etc. simply and easily.
Security is a top priority when it comes to historical landmarks such as the Unity Temple. Pentegra’s security solution included intrusion detection, access control, digital video surveillance and audio video intercom. The intrusion detection system includes motion detectors and door contacts that signal an alarm if triggered during off hours or whenever the system is activated. This alarm system is monitored 24/7 via internet connection and is easily controlled and managed through user-friendly wall mounted touch screen keypads. A card access control system was installed to manage access to specific areas of the temple. This expandable system maintains a continuous activity log to keep track of what doors are opened, when they are opened and by whom. Pentegra integrated this system with the intrusion detection for convenience. For example, when a designated user’s card is swiped, it can deactivate the intrusion detection to prevent unnecessary false alarms. Select electronic door locks installed with the access control are also integrated with an audio video intercom system that helps determine whether an outsider can be let into Unity Temple. A visitor can communicate via the intercom function while the camera transmits a live image of the visitor to the inside monitor. This intercom door station can be unlocked easily by the master station inside Unity Temple or any IP telephone on demand. To monitor activity inside and outside Unity Temple, IP surveillance cameras were installed. These IP dome cameras keep extra eyes on the grounds internally and externally for potential vandalism and crime. The Network Video Recorder installed also has a DVD recorder to provide evidence for potential incidents. The NVR can be accessed from any computer or mobile device connected to the internet. These three systems were all integrated using the same security management software into one easily manageable and efficient security solution that will help make Unity Temple a safe house of worship for many years to come.
The third aspect of this integrated installation was via Pentegra’s data division. To stay connected in today’s world you need a strong network and of course you need Wi-Fi. Pentegra Systems implemented a network infrastructure within Unity Temple to bring this historic landmark into modern times. Wi-Fi Access Points and hardwired data ports were installed throughout the temple. This equipment and all Ethernet cabling was strategically positioned and executed balancing premium functionality with inconspicuousness. Unity Temple personnel and visitors alike can now access the world effortlessly via Pentegra’s network infrastructure and always stay connected while within the temple.
Pentegra Systems successfully installed a multi-discipline integrated solution consisting of audio, video, data and security technologies that bring the aging Unity Temple into modern technological times. These integrated solutions help improve the everyday operations and safety of this historic facility without sacrificing any of its timeless look both inside and out. Our skilled and expert engineers and installation crew took a historical landmark and injected it with state of the art technology to benefit the temples end users and overall functionality.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left only five public buildings standing, one of which was the Holy Family Church located on the west side of the city. The church escaped destruction again in 1984 when the Holy Family Preservation Society was established to save the church from the wrecking ball and restore it to its original glory. Holy Family Church was orginally built in 1857 and represents one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in this country. Its 15,000 square foot interior provides 1,000 seats for services and has a 65 foot ceiling throughout the sanctuary. In 1994 the church opened for its first Sunday Mass in 10 years using a temporary, feedback prone PA system.
Pentegra Systems was brought in to design a permanent audio system that would be aesthetically pleasing to complement the beautiful architecture of the church. Moreover, the system needed to have optimal sound quality and easily controlled by multiple users.
Working with architect Ward Miller, we designed a system that would meet all of the clients needs. We decided to hide the loudspeakers behind a skylight 65 feet above the tabernacle, offering a solution both visually attractive and able to distribute sound as needed. We chose to use Renkus-Heinz CT series large format loudspeakers with long throw characteristics to avoid potential feedback problems for the main speakers and compact, color matched Renkus-Heinz SR series loudspeakers for supplemental sound reinforcement throughout the church. Two speakers were even cleverly disguised inside the tops of ornately decorated confessionals on either side of the main entryway. A Biamp VRAMeq Auto-Mixer is coupled to a pair of MSP22s signal processors and the entire system is controlled using a user-friendly Xantech 598-00 keypad.
The system Pentegra installed uses a variety of Shure, Electro-Voice and Audio-Technica wired and wireless microphones to meet any need, while maintaining the integrity and architectural beauty of Holy Family Church. Continued client satisfaction is guaranteed, as Pentegra Systems maintains and services the system as needed for the greatest audio performance.
The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and personnel of the Chicago Public Schools system and has been doing so for more than 75 years. In 2014, CTU announced that it would be moving their offices from the Merchandise Mart to a newly renovated three-story, 70,000 square foot ...