We’re thrilled to see our designs for Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts come to life after decades of planning, design, and construction. The project opened on January 14 and you can find more information on our work on the project in this article.
We asked our principal equipment designer Michael Nishball to elaborate on the complex “cassette” structure in Steinmetz Hall. Here’s what he had to say!
The second phase of the multivenue Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts—the 1,600-seat Steinmetz Hall—is finally complete! Steinmetz Hall is a multiform theatre that easily transforms from a ballet/opera house to a concert hall with 360-degree seating.
The key to the transformation is the ingenious “cassette”—part architecture, part technology, all flexibility. Theatre Projects designed the “cassette” to maximize programming possibilities within one venue while minimizing downtime between events. The one-million-pound cassette moves up and down stage on railroad sized tracks efficiently and safely to create different configurations within the room. When the cassette is stored upstage, the room works as a ballet/opera house with a large proscenium opening. The cassette is a concert enclosure which includes all the architectural finishes and seats, as well as concert and architectural lighting and audio/visual infrastructure.
The cassette also carries MEP and building services as it is moved downstage to transform the room for concert or recital modes. The acoustic ceiling deploys from the cassette by pivoting over the concert platform creating the architectural roof of the enclosure and infrastructure for critical acoustic reflections and orchestra lighting. The enclosure is also made up of two towers that have a unique two-stage telescopic structure complete with articulating wall finishes that raise up from storage height to 50 feet above stage. The towers also contain lighting and services so that the entire room becomes a complete seamless concert hall.
Once in place, the five-level cassette appears to be part of the main room, brilliantly achieving full circulation in the room and coupling seamlessly to the rest of the concert hall. It provides seating for patrons or chorus.
A huge thank you to our partners in the architecture, engineering, and fabrication of this highly advanced stage machine: