EMPAC is a place and a program, where the arts
challenge and alter our technology and
technology challenges and alters the arts.
Founded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC is an arts institution that
draws strength from being part of a great research university. It operates
nationally and internationally: attracting innovative artists, both renowned and
emerging, from around the world; offering artists, researchers, and audiences
opportunities that are available nowhere else under a single roof; providing
unsurpassed facilities for creative exploration, and for research in fields such as
visualization and movement capture; sending new artworks onto the global stage.
Fundamental to this process is the interweaving
of architecture and content. With meticulous
care for the physical realities that underlie
experimental art--the capabilities of our eyes
and ears, the characteristics of the space where
art comes to life-- the building and program have been tightly
joined from the earliest planning stage,
under the leadership of Rensselaer's
President, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, and
EMPAC's Director, Johannes Goebel.
Both are committed to making
EMPAC a prime research facility and an
intellectual force on the Rensselaer
campus, a transforming presence
in New York's Capital Region, and
a leading resource on the world's
cultural scene. Previously the director of the Institute
for Music and Acoustics, which he
founded at the Center for Art and
Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany,
Johannes Goebel brings to EMPAC his
experience as a composer, producer,
and mentor of intermedia art and
designed as both a
signature work of
architecture and a tool
for programs, EMPAC's
building will provide
and audiences with
opportunities that are
nowhere else available
under a single roof.
- 4 studios for artists-in-residence (with
another 4 located elsewhere on campus),
- professional-level recording, editing,
and post-production facilities for audio
and video, and
broadcasting facilities for Rensselaer's
student radio station, WRPI.
- The sweeping, audacious EMPAC
building will house
an architecturally distinguished 1,200-
seat concert hall designed to
the highest standards for performance
- a 400-seat theater with an 80' x 40'
stage and 60' fly tower, offering an
exceptional range of possibilities to
- a 3,500-square-foot studio with 40-
foot-high ceilings, optimized for dance
and visual presentations (from multiscreen
to immersive environments)
and well-suited for music,
- a 2,500-square-foot studio with
28-foot-high ceilings, optimized for
music and well-suited for visual
presentations and dance,
- a 1,400-square-foot rehearsal studio,
The design architect for EMPAC is
Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners,
London and New York, acclaimed
designers of The Eden Project,
the Royal College of Art, and
International Terminal Waterloo.
The architect of record is the
distinguished New York City
architectural firm Davis Brody Bond.
Working in collaboration with the
architects are theater designers
Fisher Dachs Associates and
acousticians Kirkegaard Associates,
both leaders in their fields.
Even as its extraordinary building takes shape,
EMPAC's program is steadily growing.
Drawing on international circles, EMPAC is
alreading inviting artists to reside on campus,
commissioning exciting new performance
works, and launching a series of longdistance
collaborations with other institutions.
On campus, EMPAC is building
bridges to Rensselaer's schools
and departments through
lectures, presentations, and
Off campus, EMPAC is presenting
exhibitions and performances in
collaboration with other institutions
in the Capital Region, the Berkshires,
and New York City.
By the time it marks the completion of
its home with a festival of experimental
arts, EMPAC will be able to celebrate not
just the opening of a new building, but
the realization of a fully functioning
Once its building is complete, EMPAC will provide unique
resources to its artists in residence. EMPAC's facilities will
enable artists to direct our senses into concentrated
experiences, and to investigate and expand the
technology that allows these experiences to arise.
A wide range of innovators--from the venerable and
famous to the young and promising, from individuals
to companies--will initiate or develop new work during
long-term stays at EMPAC.
EMPAC will be a point of origin for
new productions, developed within
its unparalleled facilities.
It will be a point of intersection
between artists and researchers
in science and technology.
And it will be a gathering point for
audiences, for whom EMPAC will present
exciting new performances,
installations, and events.
Spanning and exploring the differences
between art and science
between art and technology
that cross borders