Dr. Phillips
Center for the
Performing Arts

2015 ABC Eagle Award for Construction Excellence

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida, aims to provide locals and visitors access to entertainment, convention space, and shopping in one metropolitan complex spanning over two blocks.

The $514 million center was designed by Santa Barbara, Calif.–based Barton Myers Associates (design architect), Dallas' HKS Architects (executive architect), and Baker Barrios Architects of Orlando (architect). The Dr. Phillips Center is a non-profit organization aiming to be a gathering place for artists, audiences, and students alike. Built on a nine-acre site, the building includes the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, the 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, the Seneff Arts Plaza, the School of Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and several event rental spaces.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a press release that the center was "a vision to create a vibrant arts and culture scene to enliven our region's economic health and success."

KENPAT worked with Balfour-Beatty Construction on this important project and was assigned to provide framing, drywall, plaster, acoustical ceilings and acoustical panels for the center.  In a facility of this level of sophistication, there is always a combination of standard work and specialty work.  The DPAC was no exception.  KENPAT’s work ranged from typical drywall and framing to highly specialized, sophisticated work.

Drywall and Framing
Even in the more mundane drywall and framing work, this center, with its vast open areas and dramatic architecture, required great precision and attention to detail.  For example, the domed ceiling in the Disney Theatre required clean installation of radiused drywall around the outer edge of the dome.  Additionally, even in the mechanical room, drywall installation was a challenge.  This drywall pictured at the right, was installed some 45 feet above the floor, with installers having to work in and around and above the machinery on the floor.

KENPAT also framed and drywalled a 120’ radius wave wall in the lobby.  The surface of this finished wall required a great deal of precision because it would eventually be covered with small swatches of gold leaf over the entire surface.

In addition to the standard drywall work done in the restrooms, KENPAT also provided installation of special ceiling panels that were used throughout the center to mask the electrical and mechanical structures.  For example, lighting fixtures in the  restrooms are housed in panels installed by KENPAT.  Special efforts were made throughout the center to dampen the effects of sound.  For instance, in the women’s restroom, the cove ceiling included some additional work to absorb sound.  KENPAT installed the entire inner panel of the ceiling suspended on 300 springs.  This effectively deadened sound and vibration from activities above the restroom.

Acoustical Panel Installation
 KENPAT’s acoustical work can be seen immediately upon entering the center.  The main entrance and staircase are all topped with laser-matched ceiling panels that not only provide an enhanced backdrop to the lighting, but also offer acoustical benefits as well.  The ceiling panels were installed in framing that hid much of the electrical and mechanical support structure of the facility.  The result is a dramatic ceiling and lighting combination that provides beauty and function throughout the installation.

The panels were designed to precisely clip into the frames.  The frames took a myriad of shapes and sizes and required KENPAT installers to sort through over 1,000 different sizes to match the correct size and pattern for each frame.  The resultant effect is outstanding in not only providing an eye-appealing appearance, but also a sound-deadening effect on a lobby that has a considerable amount of “live” surfaces such as glass, metal and tile.

The Theatres
 KENPAT’s acoustical work was especially important in the theatres.  For example, in the smaller Pugh Theatre, KENPAT was tasked with installing special acoustical panels on the outside surface of the control room.  The unique multi-angled face of the room required precise work on the part of KENPAT installers to ensure the finished product not only dampened sound, but also provided an outstanding appearance.

Perhaps the crowning piece of KENPAT’s work on the DPAC can be seen in the Disney Theatre.  Literally, KENPAT work runs from top to bottom in this beautiful, acoustically excellent facility.  The theatre is topped with a domed ceiling that was constructed by KENPAT.  Starting with the framing, KENPAT installers custom-shaped each of the rounded frames that support the ceiling.  Once the framing was in place, KENPAT technicians plastered the underside of the dome that can be seen from the theatre.

Integral to achieving the acoustical results desired was the installation of acoustic wall panels on all sides of the theatre.  KENPAT worked to install these panels ensuring that all the seams matched precisely both vertically and horizontally to achieve both an ear-pleasing and an eye-pleasing effect.  These panels line the walls of the theatre and can be clearly seen from any location.

Finally, KENPAT fitted and installed the panels that cover the AC vents in the theatre.  Special perforated vent pipes were used that allow a continuous flow of air throughout the length of the pipe.  The covers installed by KENPAT were custom-cut to fit the varying angles caused by the differing locations of the pipes. 

While Orlando can certainly be proud of this new performing arts center, it can easily be said that it would not be the same had it not been for the work of KENPAT installers and technicians.  Amazingly, over the entire construction time period, a maximum of only 45 KENPAT workers were on site at any one time.  Truly, this building is a monument to their skill and KENPAT’s quality of work.


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