Orlando Center for the Performing Arts

Set on a two-block site in downtown Orlando, across from City Hall and its piazza, the Florida Center for the Arts and Education is envisioned as Orlando’s prime venue for the performing arts as well as a working downtown campus for the University of Central Florida’s dance, music and theatre programs. A commercial component of the complex, includes an office building, retail establishments, restaurants and an arts cinema.

A great curved wall orders the site from end to end and weaves together a series of indoor and outdoor spaces. A large urban room serves as entrance foyer to both the public and university theatres, promoting interaction between patrons and students. To the east is a piazza facing City Hall, lined with shops and restaurants and affording access to the office building. To the west is a tree-shaded garden fronting on the university buildings, which include classrooms, rehearsal space and offices. The public auditoria, a 2,000-seat multi-purpose lyric theatre and 600-seat drama theatre, and the three smaller university auditoria rise from the centre of the great wall. In silhouette, they read like a collection of fine musical instruments, their exterior forms expressing the varied shapes of the performance spaces within.

The new complex will serve as a new focal point and major landmark for downtown Orlando. Safdie envisions the complex as “an urban garden” tailored to the particular climate and ambience of central Florida.