St. Peter's Square, The Vatican
Vatican City Rome
Millions attend masses and celebrations held in St. Peter's Square each year--the main entryway into St. Peter's Basilica.
At the time of the 2000 renovation, the original audio equipment was falling short of modern expectations for providing intelligible audio to the entire space. The audio system needed to cover hundreds of thousands of square feet of space with optimum vocal intelligibility. Virtually all surfaces surrounding, and in some cases, in the midst of the all-outdoor area are reflective stone, marble, and brick--non-friendly for amplified sound. Also, the Vatican architectural staff was adamant that any new system conform to strict aesthetic guidelines. We studied the site first-hand and offered ideas regarding the natural acoustics and the predominant issue of loudspeaker pattern control. The Vatican's requirements were met to such a degree that the speakers were weather-proofed and custom painted the exact color of the weathered marble they were attached to. This project resulted in the largest installed sound reinforcement system in Italy and at the time one of the largest in Europe.