Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Experimental Media Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)

Photo Credit: ESTO

EMPAC is a unique building, offering facilities that can be found nowhere else under a single roof. The building contains a wide and very flexible group of major venues – a 1,200-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theater, a 3,500-square-foot studio, and a 2,500-square-foot studio – as well as suites for artists, rehearsal spaces, and support facilities. All are designed to the highest professional standards to accommodate both the traditional performing arts and contemporary works that incorporate digital and other media; and all are being made available to artists-in-residence who work experimentally.

FDA served as consultant to RPI and Grimshaw for theater design. “The thing that excited me most about EMPAC, was the focus on the artists,” said Joshua Dachs, FDA’s Principal. “The EMPAC concept of simply inviting artists to come and take advantage of the technologies available at Rensselaer, and giving them space to work, is very refreshing and forward thinking. For us, it has meant creating spaces that range from the informality of an artist’s studio to a full-blown concert hall. Each space provides a different kind of working environment and different technical and acoustical resources, so artists will be able to create work at any scale they wish. I know of no institution like it.”

  • Client: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Project Category: Performing Arts Centers
  • Architect: Grimshaw Architects
  • Arch. of Record: Davis Brody Bond
  • Completion Year: 2008
  • Location: Troy, New York
  • Acoustician: Kirkegaard
  • Building Size: 203,000 s.f

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