Chicago Flyhouse Blog

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted by Flyhouse on Dec 9, 2019 3:08:25 PM

Flyhouse and UW-Madison find their rhythm at the new Hamel Music Center

Often, the work that Flyhouse does is invisible. Intentionally so. We are all about function, specializing in essential behind-the-scenes rigging, design, safety, and maintenance—everything required for a safe, successful production or event, and everything the audience is never supposed to see. Our contributions to the new University of Wisconsin-Madison Hamel Music Center were anything but invisible.

The new building—featuring a Concert Hall, Recital Hall, Rehearsal Hall—is the perfect harmony of function AND form, designed with unadulterated acoustics, state-of-the-art engineering, and stunning architecture. Flyhouse has been part of the ensemble of experts, coordinating with Strang, Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, JP Cullen, Fisher Dachs Associates, Talaske, and numerous trades, playing together from the first note.


HIGHLIGHTS

One of the most unique aspects of the new Hamel Music Center is the Flyhouse Automation System. Each room has its own custom control system to move all curtains to one of 12 acoustically-tuned preset positions. For each preset, curtains automatically adjust to the perfect acoustics for the specific performance and style of music—at the touch of a button. Music to our ears! 

Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall

Stacking Curtains and Doors: Twenty-two stacking curtains with doors are built into the copper-leafed shelves that surround the room. The curtains are hidden away and closed up until needed. The curtains extend out from the bottom of the shelf and adjust the reverberation and aesthetics of the hall.   

Wire tension walkway serves as crew access to lighting positions and rig points in the interior of the room. Flyhouse designed and fabricated the walkway using steel wire woven a walkable mesh. The result is light and airy access entirely functional, acoustically transparent, and almost visually invisible.

Collins Recital Hall

Petals: Eight curved steel and wood structures were designed to reflect sound down, away from the ceiling and toward the audience. Flyhouse built the base structure that was covered and finished by Carley Wood Associates. Flyhouse hung each petal from the ceiling, 40 feet above the stage, as fully functional artistic pieces. The largest of the massive petals is 8 feet wide, 15 feet long, and weighs 800 pounds.

Flyhouse_UW

Tiaras: These two rings constructed from woven stainless wire mesh applied to stainless steel framework hang under the petals. They are architectural features that camouflage the exposed lighting battens and, along with the petals, are the featured design elements of the Recital Hall Ceiling. 

To install these key pieces and other equipment, Flyhouse installed a floating platform the full size of the ceiling that carried crew and equipment to the ceiling for installation. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Hamel Music Center opened to the public this fall. 


BY THE NUMBERS:

3 performance spaces in the new venue: Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall, Collins Recital Hall, and Sing Man & Florence Lee/Annette Kaufman Rehearsal Hall

Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall

4 Flyhouse custom 2,000 lb capacity winches for lifting curtains
1 Flyhouse custom 1,800 lb capacity winch for projection screen
16 2000 lb capacity rigging strong points
22 stacking curtains with 24 stacking curtain doors
5 wire rope access platforms
4 tracking curtains with 4 custom built tracking curtain doors

Collins Recital Hall

24 roller banner curtains
1 Flyhouse custom 3,500 lb capacity winch with full-circle lighting batten
2 Flyhouse custom 1,800 lb capacity winch with half-circle lighting battens
8 Flyhouse custom Petals
2 Flyhouse custom Tiara
8 Flyhouse custom on-stage reflector panels (4 rotating, 4 stationary)
1 Flyhouse custom Piano Barn Door

Sing Man & Florence Lee/Annette Kaufman Rehearsal Hall

4 tracking curtains

90 axes total on 3 independent systems—custom designed and programmed by Flyhouse Automation Systems.

 

Flyhouse_UW_r2

 

Topics: Hoist, Theatrical Rigging, Flyhouse Projects

Elgin Community College Gets a Lift

Posted by Flyhouse on Sep 11, 2019 3:01:28 PM

Arts Center Updated Ahead of 25th Anniversary

Flyhouse’s Safer Venue service provides customers with comprehensive annual inspections and repairs. Nobody likes major repair work or safety incidents that could have been prevented—yearly maintenance is a must. 

The Elgin Community College Arts Center’s recent Safer Venue Inspection identified several rigging issues that needed to be addressed. Flyhouse is always inventing better ways to make rigging systems operate smoother and safer, and our annual venue visits provide the opportunity for improvements and updates. 

ElginCC_Pics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In addition to regular maintenance, Flyhouse was also awarded a larger renovation project at the Art Center; its scope was designed by theater consultant Bill Connor Associates, LLC. The project included the installation of nine custom ZipLift counterweight assist hoists with a custom head block, which allowed the powered hoist to easily retrofit into their existing system. This newly designed hoist can safely move a lineset up to 1000 pounds out of weight. The orchestra shells that exist at Elgin CC weigh close to 4000 pounds and now with the theater upgrades provided, operators are able to move them by the push of a button instead of hanging on the handline hoping that they move a few inches.

Flyhouse has been moving scenery and performers with our custom designed ZipLift hoists since 1998 and we’re extremely experienced in automating things. Our newest hoist is currently being used at Elgin CC but it’s Elgin's custom control system that makes this project truly unique. In just two weeks, we modified the system to integrate all nine units into one custom cabinet for all of the power and controls. Now all nine hoists are controlled by one pendant while the person is standing anywhere onstage, keeping a line of sight on the hoist-assisted linesets flying these extremely large amounts of weight to programmable trims.

In recent years, the Elgin CC Arts Center has primarily been used for concerts, but now the venue is suited for musical productions and much more. The repairs and updates will be complete in time for the 25th anniversary season which begins this fall. We can’t wait to see how these facility improvements put a little more zip in future Elgin CC productions!

Topics: Hoist, Theatrical Rigging, Flyhouse Projects

Rigging Terms: Planner's Pocket Dictionary

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 25, 2018 1:59:19 PM

Reflected ground plan? Allowable load? Fly? Any of these sound familiar to you? If you are a rigger, they are commonly used terms. If you are an event planner, you probably are looking them up right now. Well, you don't have to go far because we can help you out.

Flyhouse appeared inside a recent edition of the Illinois Meetings + Events magazine to fill in the definitions of commonly used rigging terms.

Flyhouse Rigging Terms

Topics: News, Theatrical Rigging, Rigging Facts

Flyhouse Projects in October

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 4, 2017 9:55:34 AM
From flying Billy Elliot, being on-site at multiple Arena projects to installing holiday decorations, Flyhouse has a full schedule this October. So where are we?

In-Progress Projects


Geneseo High School (Geneseo, Illinois)

Geneseo High School

Willow Creek Church (Crystal Lake, Illinois)

Willow Creek Church

Barclay College Performing Arts Center (Haviland, Kansas)

Barclays Performing Arts Center

Columbia College (Chicago, Illinois)

Columbia College

Macys (Chicago, Illinois)

Macys Chicago

Marriott (Lincolnshire, Illinois)

Marriott Lincolnshire.jpg

United Center (Chicago, Illinois)

United Center

Oakbrook Center (Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois)

Oakbrook-Center-holiday-shopping-2.jpg

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (Chicago, Illinois)

Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

UMBC Arena (Baltimore, Maryland)

UMBC Arena

Porchlight Music Theater (Chicago, Illinois)

Porchlight Music Theatre

Wintrust Arena (Chicago, Illinois)

Wintrust Arena

Flyhouse Rigging Trainings

Columbus McKinnon - Lititz, Pennsylvania

ETC - Madison, Wisconsin

Cruise Ship Trainings

Lisbon, Portugal to Rome, Italy

Honolulu, Hawaii

Los Angeles, California

Topics: News, Theatrical Rigging, Stage Rigging

Understanding Lighting Safety Cables

Posted by Flyhouse on Aug 25, 2017 2:34:26 PM

How much do you know about the lighting safety cables you are using for your theater or arena? Do you know which method of attachment is best to secure the lights in preventing an accident? Our shop got curious about this so we decided to make our own and test the math behind it to get you an answer.

 

Click here to watch this video on Lighting Safety Cables on YouTube

Topics: Theatrical Rigging, Facts, Video, Stage Rigging