Marrying Arts And Tech In The Building So They Can Feed Off One Another

At the new gateway to the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, you won’t see any robotics or engineering feats on display. Instead, the 180,000-square-foot Student Hall for Exploration and Development offers views into two nearly transparent cubes. In one, actors rehearse a theater performance; students are practicing their moves in a dance studio in the other.

Enter the $120 million building and notice that the theater, cheek-by-jowl with glass-walled maker spaces, looks into a crescent-shaped atrium. The workshops display a dizzying array of benches and machine tools umbilicaled to the ceiling by electrical cords and exhaust hoods. Garage-style doors open up and out of the way, inviting anyone passing by to check out the projects being invented and iterated within.

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