The construction of Rensselaer’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is a project replete with impressive engineering innovations, firsts, and feats: 215 tie-backs up to 210+ feet anchoring the building at a 30-degree angle into the bedrock; 238 caissons filled with concrete supporting the structure vertically down to the bedrock; 16,000 cubic yards of poured concrete; 11,000 pieces of steel (only about 300 of which are the same size and shape); a highly complex shape around the concert hall covered with cedar wood planks; and a 300-foot glass façade heated with a water-glycol mixture circulating in its steel support structure. The 217,000-square-foot facility is designed for the highest quality in acoustics, visual presentation, production, and performance technology found nowhere else under one roof.
EMPAC will include four distinct and specialized performance venues under one roof, ranging in scale from a 1,200-seat concert hall to a 400-seat theater to both large and small flexible studio spaces. All spaces will incorporate the most advanced media technologies, lighting, and theatrical rigging available to allow for the most imaginative and diverse kinds of performances.
Additionally, every EMPAC venue will double as a research lab, providing not only the most up-to-date technology, but also a sheer volume of space unavailable elsewhere: for example, EMPAC’s theater “fly-space” reaches heights of 70 feet, while the studios offer completely unencumbered square footages of 2,500 and 3,500 square feet, enabling researchers to mount large-scale investigations into the visualization and audification of data, exploring motion, new lighting technologies, and more.