Architect’s hand to be lopped from arts center?

Barton Myers plan for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Interesting little snippet of a story today by Mark Schlueb in the Sentinel, in which Barton Myers, architect of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, worried that his design will be screwed up if it’s built the way planners are talking about it now.

I’ve been worried for a long time that Myers’ grand design, unveiled three years ago, was going to look very strange under the budgetary plan that calls for the center to be built in stages — the largest theater soonest and the medium-sized one, meant for classical music and dance, sometime in the probably distant future.

Now I read that current plans also call for the design’s community room — the beautiful glassed-in events room that is supposed to cross Magnolia Avenue and is front and center in the drawing above — is also on hold.


First of all, that room is intended to be rented out for weddings, conferences and other events, which means it will be an important funding source for the center.

But equally important, in my mind at least, is that Myers’ design not be chipped away until there’s nothing beautiful left.

It’s like building Big Ben and, with the idea of saving some money, deciding you don’t need any bells. And since you don’t have any bells, why not make it a good bit shorter? Here’s what you’d get:

You’d have a plain box, which is what I am afraid we’re going to end up with in Orlando — something that looks like one of those sports buildings on the other side of the interstate.

And you’d also have a building that would not serve Orlando’s arts community, would not draw people downtown and would not make Orlando the vibrant city it wants to be.

I’m no economist, and I don’t pretend to understand the workings of the financing that is supposed to build and support this center. But I’m sick of the petty wrangling that is destroying our dreams for a great performing-arts center. There is money in Central Florida. Please, those of you who have it, step forward and make Barton Myers’ design a reality.

4 responses to “Architect’s hand to be lopped from arts center?

  1. Thanks for the exhortation. I too am hoping more folks step up to the plate and help us get the world class venue we deserve . . . and that will create better jobs and corporate relocations.

  2. Kathy Godfrey

    Thanks, Betsey. Building design is seldom improved on by bureaucrats. We helped finance and build a basketball arena. Let’s move forward on an arts center!

  3. mikki scanlon kreikard

    that building sings when you see it~ wrangling is strangling!!!!

  4. Excellent article. I for one would not be up it being built in stages. The building its self is an amazing design. Hope everything works out