SoA students and faculty reach into the communities that surround them Founded in 1824 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has always exerted an important influence on the historic city of Troy and the Capital Region in general. One of the most recent campus additions the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center EMPAC is a case in point. EMPAC which opened its doors in 2008 has enriched the cultural life of the region immeasurably and has also been hailed as an architectural marvel. Indeed the New York Times calls EMPAC a technological pleasure dome for the mind and senses dedicated to the marriage of art and science as it has never been done before. This kind of local engagement is a key value that has consistently characterized the School of Architecture. There have been a significant number of local initiatives that have involved SoA students and that have emphasized the importance of maintaining a connection to the cultural legacy of our surroundings. In looking around the region the School of Architecture has been able to identify institutions with which to collaborate and has contributed valuable hands-on work. CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT One of the most significant ways that the School of Architecture interacts with the community is through the Capital Region Collaborative Initiative. This series of projects asked SoA students to reimagine three Capital Region museums the Shaker Museum and Library which preserves artifacts from the Shaker sect that lived in the area from 1787 to 1947 the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls which exhibits important European and American art works and the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. The work is fascinating. In the case of the Shaker Museum for instance each student chose a Shaker artifact and then conducted a study of the piece that included a digital generative analysis drawing. These studies guided the students thinking as they designed and modeled a hypothetical 10000-square-foot archive and exhibition space for the museum. For her artifact Caressa Siu 14 chose a pair of Shaker dancing shoes. These were only used a certain time of the week said Siu and so they connoted something that was very structured and organized periodic and repetitive. I considered those principles in approaching the design. Through the symbiotic relationships that Rensselaer has forged with these three museumsand for the others that will surely come in the futureRensselaer and the surrounding community enrich each other.