University of California, Santa Barbara, California Nanosystems InstituteUniversity of California, Santa Barbara, California Nanosystems Institute
© McKay Conant Hoover
© McKay Conant Hoover

University of California, Santa Barbara, California Nanosystems Institute

Santa Barbara, California

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.

Defined by a 360-degree surround, 30-foot diameter, spherical projection screen constructed of perforated metal, edge-blended images are beamed from projector locations above and below a viewing bridge that is located at the audience chamber dome’s “meridian line.” The bridge, designed to fly up and down, changes the viewer’s orientation within the dome.

The room is designed for future growth as audio-video and computer processing technology develops over time; audio sources can be placed at any location behind the perforated dome surround, above the floor or below the floor deck. Installation of an extensive structural, mechanical and electrical infrastructure supports the ever-changing technology anticipated during 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