ORLANDO, Fla. – The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is getting ready to raise a new curtain after almost two decades since the idea was introduced.
“There’s a lot of theaters that have either one or two of the three components but there’s not a theater that has achieved the three main elements that we chose to pursue. One it’s an N1 rated hall, it’s perfect sound,” Kathy Ramsberger, the President and CEO of DPAC said.
The Steinmetz Hall is the center’s third and final theater. It was designed to be a multi-form hall.
“What happens is the architecture completely changes in this room from a proscenium hall to a concert hall,” Ramsberger said. “There’s one piece of architecture in there that is a million pounds. It’s on train tracks — it’s 500 tons — and what it does is it moves on train tracks to change the shape of the hall.”
The multiform acoustical theater stands out not only for its perfect sound but for its architecture and engineering.
According to Ramsberger, Steinmetz Hall is the second theater in the country to use the Gala System seating — transforming the theater’s wooden flat floor into 22 rows of seats in less than 15 minutes. And, the building is actually elevated above hundreds of pilings.
“This entire building is floating. It doesn’t touch the ground. It’s floating on isolation vibration pads,” the CEO said. “The 700 pilings set the foundation within the ground. On top of that slab at 43 to 50 feet, there’s about 250 towers. On top of those towers, there’s sound vibration pads about this thick, depending upon the size of the tower.”
The opening on Friday comes as Central Florida deals with a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
“One thing that we’re doing is the ribbon cutting is outside and we’re looking at numbers and we’re requiring masks. So, then the open house we think that we’re gonna be able to space somebody at least this weekend,” Ramsberger said.
It cost about $240 million to finish this second phase of the project. Steinmetz Hall was originally set to open last Fall but the pandemic caused a halt in construction.