EMPAC reaches new heights, sustainability

New installation experiments with gravity, floating Death Star, limiting carbon footprint

EMPAC ORBITS in space, representing a true architectural and environmental momenument. Joe Gobbel states, “That’s no moon.”

This past weekend, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center unveiled a huge surprise installation involving the whole building. Joe Gobbel, director of EMPAC, released an official statement Friday, in which he states, “We’ve always looked for ways to push experimental art and thought at EMPAC, so the next logical step for us was to stop focusing on the limitations of human development and move to the sky.” For those who may have been out of town, the spherical wooden concert hall that once sat in the middle of EMPAC is now floating miles above in the upper stratosphere. In the released statement, the choice to move EMPAC high above Earth just seemed right. Gobbel writes, “the new addition has allowed for better acoustics, broader use of the concert hall as a creative space, and an orbital laser cannon to end the futility of life on our planet.”

EMPAC has always been appreciated as an architectural marvel, but now it is a great engineering one as well, with the ability to free float in Earth’s gravity and shoot intense beams of energy that could rip the world in two. “Some of us on staff at EMPAC have started calling the newly renovated building ‘The Death Star,’” said Gobbel in his announcement. “Which is of course a joke since we would never have a fatal weakness like a thermal exhaust vent two meters wide.”

To commemorate the unveiling, EMPAC has begun a celebration not only for the new renovation, but also for the green, clean, and more efficient EMPAC. RPI has always tried to limit its carbon footprint, with the East Campus Athletic Village achieving LEED Gold status, and EMPAC achieving LEED certification as well. But the staff wanted to take it up a notch. The new building uses highly efficient solar panels so they no longer have to rely on fossil fuels or any other energy source needed to live comfortably on Earth. Gobbel states, “We made the decision to use composite materials and alternative energy when possible in making our ‘Death Star’ in order to decrease the impact on the world we will soon be destroying.”

I look forward to see what this means for the Institute, and can’t wait to see what EMPAC has in store next.