ORLANDO | The recently opened Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has quickly become the pulse of downtown Orlando. Debuting in November 2014, the $500 million facility was designed to be a feast for the senses both inside and out. The building delivered in spades and can’t help but put a smile on your face when you visit. Here are 8 design element we love in the new Dr. Phillips Center.

1. Inviting, User-Friendly Entrance
Walking up to the main entrance from the CNL Arts Plaza, you won’t encounter a single step until reaching the main lobby. While imposing, the all-glass front facade underscores that all are welcome. At night, special lighting features bring out the true character of the building by emphasizing various architectural elements.


2. Automated Front Doors
As part of the building’s open design concept, the front doors are completely mobile and magically disappear a couple of hours before showtime, exposing the lobby’s main staircase. It’s the equivalent of the curtain going up, except the building itself is the star of the show.


3. Grand Staircase
Soaring five stories to the ceiling above is the building’s grand staircase, an attention-getter for sure. When you make it to one of the upper tiers, step back and take it all in. The curving stairs seem to hang in space with no visual support system. The grand staircase exemplifies futuristic, modern design.


4. Diverse Textures
Every color and texture inside the building was perfectly planned to create a diverse tapestry that dazzles the eye. The steps of the grand staircase are covered in a dark wood grain which are complemented nicely with white concrete. Each tier is covered in carpet with a bold black, white and gray design.

5. Wave Wall
The massive “Wave Wall” acts as an acoustic buffer between the Walt Disney Theater and the lobby, gently curving from end of the building to the other. Special lighting paints the wall with vibrant colors, which adds to the overall design tapestry of the space.


6. Restrooms
Everywhere you turn, there seems to be a restroom. Those on the first floor behind the grand staircase are the most impressive. Harriet’s Ladies Lounge includes 32 stalls, chandeliers, white benches, marble counters, and ruby red glass sinks. The men’s restroom is more utilitarian, with several urinals and stalls. The walls are covered in subway tile and there are stainless steel touches throughout.

7. Snack and Drink Bars
There may be just as many snack and drink bars scattered around the building as bathrooms. Some only serve coffee or alcoholic beverages, while others offer limited food choices. An outdoor balcony with tables and chairs extends off the front of the building, giving visitors a chance to enjoy their purchases while watching arrivals in the driveway below.


8. Walt Disney Theater
As the building’s primary live performance venue, the 2,731-seat Walt Disney Theater is an architectural masterpiece. Every seat in the house is designed to offer exceptional sightlines whether you’re sitting on the main floor or way up in the nosebleeds. A mixture of earth tones and regal blue colors make this space inviting and surprisingly cozy. You never feel like you’re out of earshot with the person on stage because the space was constructed to have optimum acoustics. Following a recording of the NPR show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! last Thursday, members of the panel took questions from the audience. No mics were needed. That’s the true test of great design in a space like the Dr. Phillips Center.