University of California, Santa Barbara, California Nanosystems Institute

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre consulting for a 16-person standing virtual reality theatre, sensory research laboratories, conference rooms, and the conceptual design for a 250-seat virtual reality theatre. The Nanosystems Institute’s Allosphere presentation space sets the bar for the development of presentation systems and scientific visualization. The firm’s careful assessment of potential uses and thorough knowledge of current technology and future trends were key in providing appropriate and forward-looking design.

Conceived as an immersive flexible blank palette, the Allosphere’s virtual reality systems support visual and performing arts, and scientific research and discovery. Collaborative use of the facility between the Nanosystems Institute and Media Arts and Technology Program brings together scientists and artists in a virtual world of their own creation.

The space, defined by a 360-degree surround 30-foot diameter spherical surface constructed of perforated metal, shows edge-blended images projected from locations on and around the viewing bridge. Audio sources can be placed at any location behind the perforated sphere. The design of the bridge allows for the future installation of rigging to raise and lower the deck changing the viewer’s orientation within the dome. The observers can be immersed in sound and images with ultimate creative control of content and the space provided by the artists and scientists who conduct research and develop their expertise with this unique tool. Installation of an extensive structural, mechanical and electrical infrastructure supports the ever-changing technology anticipated over the life of the facility.

Architect: Altoon + Porter Architects with Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates
Acoustics: McKay Conant Hoover
Size: 110,900 SF
Cost: $51,800,000
Completion: 2007