Collaborating in the Cube

>May 12, 2015

Collaborating in the Cube

Collaborating in the CubeCollaborating in the Cube

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), established in 2011 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., is a university-level research institute that defines itself as a “trans-disciplinary living lab.” Going well beyond the typical media lab, ICAT brings together the arts, design, engineering, and science in a unique collaborative environment. Students, faculty, industrial partners, and community volunteers work together within the institute’s collaborative studios.

ICAT, which is partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, is headquartered within the Moss Arts Center; the $100-million, 147,000-square-foot facility designed by Snøhetta in collaboration with Arup, Theatre Projects and STV was completed in October 2013. The arts center encompasses a 1,260-seat flexible performance venue, several traditional, digital, and new media art galleries totaling 4,200 square feet, and various other studio spaces. The building also houses facilities supporting the Department of Communication, including a multimedia studio, production control room, newsroom, and associated classroom space.

Collaborating in the CubeThe Moss Arts Center also features the Cube. Unique in the world, the Cube is a four-story-high, state-of-the-art theater and high-tech laboratory that serves multiple platforms of creative practice by faculty, students, national and international guest artists, and researchers. The Cube is a highly adaptable space for research and experimentation in big data exploration, immersive environments, intimate performances, audio and visual installations, and experiential investigations of all types. This facility is shared between ICAT and the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.

Global firm Arup consulted with a team led by ICAT director Ben Knapp on the Cube’s innovative audiovisual system design. “The idea was to provide a palette with which to sculpt sound,” says Denis Blount, Arup’s acoustic and AV consultant who collaborated with co-designer and project manager Terence Caulkins, senior acoustics and AV consultant at Arup New York. “They wanted the ability to experiment with wave field synthesis, ambi-sonics, and VBAP—vector base amplitude panning. The system was designed to support experimentation with any of those. They can put sound anywhere within the space, and push the boundaries of 3D audio.”

Read MoreRead More