Davis, Brody, Bond LLP
Polytechnic Institute is the oldest technical research university in the
United States. The president of the University, Shirley Ann Jackson, is
regarded as one of the most influential women in America and devised
the infamous 'Rensselaer Plan', that moves to diversify the university.
One area of diversification is with a new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre, showcasing distinctive programs in the electronic arts, while providing facilities that will broaden campus discourse and allow RPI to engage the larger community in the arts.
The centre features multiple studios, and classrooms around a 1,200 seat, boat shaped concert hall. This form extends beyond the line of the roof and is visible on the exterior of the building. A skylight was designed to span the gap between the powerful form of the theatre and the rest of the building. The skylight's complex geometry twists around the curving form of the theatre, creating a simplistic and minimal connection to the main building structure. Texlon ETFE's ability to form warped surfaces, and the minimal supporting structure, allow the concept of visual separation to be achieved.