Urban Destination and Iconic Gathering Place: The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was a new construction project with a cast-in-place concrete and structural steel structure.
A stunning circular staircase greets guests at the entrance, rising gracefully from the ground level to the top floor. The 263,000-square-foot facility features two state-of-the-art theaters, gathering areas for private events, and the School for the Arts which brings arts education to students of any age.
From the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater to the intimate 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, there is a new home for performing arts in Central Florida. Orlando is becoming a premier arts destination.
The gathering spaces offer Downtown Orlando’s most coveted event space. The DeVos Family Room features floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding window wall that reveal stunning views of Downtown and the arts plaza below. The Della Grand Lobby at the base of the Center’s signature wave wall and the Kessler Lobby on the top tier provide unique space for local events.
As an urban destination, the Dr. Phillips Center enriches the community in myriad ways. The project’s construction created a significant amount of work under the City’s BLUEPRINT employment program. The venue means more revenue for the City and downtown businesses and the vision for the facility to serve as an iconic gathering place will serve Orlando for years to come.
A Dream Come True
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a 30-year-old dream come true for many in and around Downtown Orlando. The iconic canopy welcomes visitors from near and far to enjoy Arts for Every Life® in inspirational style. Making the dream a reality took an orchestra of architects and contractors working together to build a masterpiece. From coordinating building information models with HKS and key subcontractors to maintenance of traffic for some of Orlando’s busiest downtown intersections that surround the project, Balfour Beatty was determined to succeed.
The construction team was an all-star cast that included a joint venture with six small business “purpose partners” who co-located with Balfour Beatty to complete the project. Each company provided staff members to work on the project team, including project engineers, accountants, assistant superintendents, and a quality control manager.
Those team members were not familiar with Balfour Beatty’s day-to-day operations procedures and had to be brought up to speed quickly. To do this, we developed a plan that included weekly focus meetings, shadowing experienced Balfour Beatty staff members, and monthly executive meetings with the partner firms to ensure open communication at all levels.
Due to the complexity of the concrete and steel structure, field and office teams were assigned to elements, rather than areas, until completion of the dry-in phase. These elements included concrete construction, steel construction, MEPF construction and coordination, and the building envelope.
After the structure was topped out, Balfour Beatty revised the personnel plan to a “by-area” plan that included a lead superintendent and project engineer for each of five specific areas of the building. These teams were able to stay focused on their respective areas to drive project completion through the punch list phase.
Our purpose partners were part of our plan to work with the City of Orlando’s BLUEPRINT employment program to hire Orlando-area workers and support the local economy. As a result, over $36 million in work was directed to minority and women-owned firms.
The Dr. Phillips Center was certainly a complex, difficult project that required intense coordination and advanced planning to make happen. The finished product is a stellar example of teamwork, fine craftsmanship, and construction excellence. The facility opened to rave reviews that would not be possible without Balfour Beatty’s dedication and hard work. They definitely delivered a masterpiece and a dream come true for the Orlando community.