Troy NY, USA

past experience — a selection

The program at EMPAC combines research and performance in the fields of music, sound and image, in the widest imaginable definitions. The new facilities are inspired by institutions like Ircam in Paris and ZKM in Karlsruhe. The building has f our spaces: a 1,200-seat concert hall, a 400-seat theater, and two large studios: a smaller one for the ears (white), and a larger one for the eyes (black).

Frans developed the system architecture for the AV and media systems from the competition phase until the end of Design Development. The planning for the building started in 2002, when the development of media networks was splintered at best. The design challenge put forward by the client was to anticipate network protocols and minimize the copper footprint, not just because of cost, but for the sake of steering developments towards smarter networks (while respecting legacy sonology apparatus). By the time the building opened, the first technical proposals for networking of sound and video were being considered by technical standards committees.

Architects — Grimshaw and DBB
Owner — Rensselaer
Acoustician — Kirkegaard Associates
Audio, video and media systems design — Frans Swarte for Kirkegaard Associates from Competition through Design Development
Theater consultant — FDA
Project area — 220,000 sq ft / 20,000 m2 GFA
Construction cost — $ 140 M
Year — 2008