According to a Tech press release, the devil is in the details:
The selection of the fixed seating in the performance hall, for example, included the examination of not only comfort, but also acoustic qualities, repeated-use wear and silence of their moving parts. Earlier in the design process, it was determined that the depth of the first balcony negatively affected acoustics and recommended that 40 seats be removed from the original 1,300 planned for the space. The maximum number of seats, and therefore tickets that could be sold, was reduced to 1,260 without hesitation.
Arup, a global engineering and acoustics firm with corporate offices in New York City, is leading the team on matters of acoustics. Arup has worked with major institutions from the Sydney Opera House to the Louvre and the Guggenheim. The material, called "skin," covering the ceilings and walls of the performance theater has been tested and specifically selected for its acoustic qualities. Everything in the performance theater, from the shape of the theatre boxes and balconies to the positioning of lights, has been chosen for its acoustic qualities.
The visual arts exhibition galleries has put emphasis on versatility. The galleries are being designed and constructed to support not only traditional two-dimensional and three-dimensional art, but also virtual, digital, live, and performance art. Moveable walls, a variety of lighting options, room darkening capabilities, and more will make these galleries an adaptive space for visual arts.
Laboratories and studios are also under development for the center's Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology. A 3,000-square-foot creative performance lab is part of the center's spaces for the activities of the institute.
Spaces dedicated to the institute will be housed in the part of the center that is Shultz Hall. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, which has for years taken most of its meals in the un-air conditioned Shultz Hall, will eat in a new, state-of-the-art dining center on Turner Street. The new dining center will be open to all and will also provide some space for academic programs of the university.
"With input and guidance from a steering committee, a building committee and numerous groups with technical expertise, which are composed of deans, department heads, faculty, administrators, and graduate students from across campus, I believe we are making sound choices for the Center for the Arts," says Director Ruth Waalkes, "Choices that will translate into a unique world-class center, where performance arts, visual arts, and technology intersect."
The $89 million Center for the Arts will open in fall 2013, but has already begun co-presenting programs. The next Center for the Arts co-sponsored event is the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet with the Department of Music on Jan. 28 at the Lyric. Then, on Feb. 12, the center presents the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra virtuosi group with the New River Valley Friends of the Roanoke Symphony at the Squires Recital Salon. In June and July, the center will present the Vocal Arts and Music Festival (formerly Viva Virginia).