The Walt Disney Theater

Engineering and consulting firm Arup has announced the opening of the new 330,000ft² Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida.

The company provided structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering, as well as acoustics and audiovisual design for the multi-venue performing arts centre.

In 2008, Arup and Artec worked with Barton Myers Associates, executive architects HKS Architects and Baker Barrios Architects to design and detail the facilities.

Orlando-based TLC Engineering for Architecture and BASE Consultants also collaborated with Arup.

The Dr Phillips Center houses the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater for Broadway tours and other amplified shows, as well as the 300-seat, multi-purpose Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, for smaller performances.

The company also designed a 1,700-seat acoustic theater for opera, classical music and ballet, which will be built once funding is secured.

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"Every consideration, from aesthetics, to vibration control, to acoustics, to sustainability and efficient building performance was explored."

Additional spaces at the centre include an outdoor performance plaza, large banquet room, lobby tiers and a donors’ lounge. Backstage there is a rehearsal room, dressing rooms, educational spaces, classrooms and offices.

A soaring cantilevered roof extending 85ft across Magnolia Avenue serves as both a canopy to shelter guests has been engineered by Arup.

Dr Phillips Center for Performing Arts CEO and president Katherine Ramsberger said: "The introduction of this world-class performing arts centre to downtown Orlando will greatly benefit our local community through its ability to attract the world’s best artists, economically through its ability to create jobs and provide revenue to surrounding businesses, and socially through the educational opportunities and outreach programmes we can provide.

"Every consideration, from aesthetics, to vibration control, to acoustics, to sustainability and efficient building performance was explored, and the Dr Phillips Center is destined to be a community and cultural icon because of it."

Arup’s structural engineering team used structural analyses tools, including crowd vibration modelling and dynamic analysis, as well as wind aeroelastic simulation to optimise the structural design and create a quiet and vibration-free environment.

In order to fully integrate all structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems collaborating on the project, building information modeling (BIM) was used from the early conceptual design through construction documentation.

Image: The Walt Disney Theater at the Dr Phillips Center. Photo: courtesy of Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.