Phasor Lab strikes the right chord for research

Publication Date

People gathered in the Wold Atrium to celebrate research being done in the Phasor Lab.

The first thing visitors notice when they step into the Peter Irving Wold Center from the main entrance is the Steinway baby grand piano to the right.

The piano, the centerpiece of the Laboratory for Electrical Engineering and Music Research, or “Phasor Lab,” also hits the right note for the type of interdisciplinary research the center has hosted since it opened more than a year ago.

That’s by design.

“It’s certainly one of the visual impacts you see when you walk into the building,” said John Storyk of the Walters-Storyk Design Group, the architectural acoustics firm responsible for the lab’s stunning features.

On Monday night, Storyk shared stories of the lab’s design and other acoustic gems with two dozen folks who gathered in the Wold Atrium to celebrate the work being conducted in the lab. Among those in attendance were faculty members from the departments of Electrical Engineering and Music, Facilities personnel involved in the lab’s construction and representatives from other institutions such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Palma Catravas, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, hosted the event, which also included a concert by guest artist Bradford Gowen in Emerson Hall.

Zak Smolen ’13 designed a cake for the festivities.

Supported with funds from the National Science Foundation and the Wold Center donors, planned research includes experimental studies of human speech production, audio digital signal processing, experimental characterization of musical instruments and music visualization research.

Storyk talked about the challenges of designing a lab that had to work not only as a music studio, but needed to blend in architecturally with the rest of the building. As he toured the lab with other guests Monday and listened to their positive reviews, he knew the goal was accomplished.

“This is another one of Union’s amazing facilities,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”