EMPAC Exhibit an Ellipsoid Inside a Cuboid by Grimshaw Architects


A peculiar sight enthralls your imaginative mind to wonder and gasp in awe! EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center) facility captivates you with an avant-garde expression of a wooden ellipsoid inside a glazed cuboid designed by Grimshaw Architects. The vision crafts the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with an innovative immersive performance environment, housed in a singular structure that conveys the project’s noteworthy contribution to the campus.

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Slashed along a steep hill, the EMPAC ropes a 1,200-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theatre, three performance studios abutting, and recording and editing facilities. The concert hall forms the centerpiece within the glazed linear envelope as an immense curvaceous wooden ‘hull’ clad in sustainable western red cedar. Evoking the beauty and craftsmanship of a fine musical instrument, the soaring hall attunes to world-class performances and entertainment.


The warm golden edifice embraces a shoebox form inclusive of optimized acoustics and innovative material technologies that support a broad range of musical entertainment in glam. EMPAC ensures to cherish, encourage and inspire guests, performers and students by bestowing outstanding facilities for the high programmatic standards that befit RPI’s established excellence.


The architects manifested the acoustic performance in the building’s exterior design and identity, viewed by the public almost as a musical instrument, symbolic of the fine acoustics that awaits to enthrall you within. Experimental studios, recording spaces, and the theatre sit adjacent, their rectilinear volumes embedded into the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center slope. The hybrid fly tower and audience chamber of the theatre bequeath flexibility to the stage proscenium productions and that in the round.


Project Details:
Project Name: Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)
Project Location: Troy, New York, USA
Architecture Firm: Grimshaw Architects
Office Website: https://grimshaw.global/
Project Year: 2008
Built / Unbuilt: Built
Photographer: Paul Rivera/Archphoto, Peter Aaron/Esto
Build Area: 19,120 m2

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