Dr P.Philips Centre for the Performing Arts, Orlando, Florida


Curtains rise up in Orlando, with help from Seacad and Tekla

The lack of a venue means resident arts groups have to compete for the little space that is available. It also means that national touring shows often bypass Orlando.
To amend this situation, a 330,000 sq ft, state-of-the art centre is being built that will be a magnet for residents and tourists. The Dr. P. Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts will house two performance theatres, a community theatre, an outdoor plaza, rehearsal rooms, administrative offices, an educational programming space and a community facility.

The project is located on a nine-acre site in downtown Orlando and the two-block site will also accommodate new restaurants, shops and public spaces. When completed, it will become a new cultural and social hub that will stimulate the local economy, create new jobs and enhance the city.

Construction of the centre began in mid-2011 and it will be built in stages over the next few years with the first phase being completed by 2014. Interestingly, the construction of this iconic American building is partly being handled by a company in faraway Indonesia. Despite being more than 17,000 km away, P.T. Seacad Services is able to do all the necessary work on the site, all with help of Tekla Structures. Seacad is a Jakarta-based company that specializes in producing workshop drawings. Even though it is based in Indonesia, the company is internationally focused. According to founder and managing director Phil Martin, all its work since 2004 has been for clients in the United States.

According to Mr. Martin, the Dr. Phillips Centre was a moderately complex project due to the shape of its walls. The walls of the centre are wavy, which made it more challenging
to produce the drawings. 

Tekla makes complex geometry easy

Because parts of the structure include complex geometry, Mr. Martin does not believe that it would even be possible to produce the workshop drawings manually for the Dr. Phillips Centre. They include double curves, i.e., curves in two directions and conventional CAD programs would struggle.

In contrast, it was a routine task to create the models in Tekla Structures. “With Tekla, you can handle the model almost as if you had it in your hands,” he said.

“You can manipulate the 3D model like a physical model, almost like putty - all of which you cannot do with conventional CAD software”.

Apart from the ability to handle complex geometry, Tekla was also invaluable to the project as preparing workshop drawings in Tekla is much faster than manually. This was particularly important with this project because even with Tekla Structures, Seacad has had to devote 31,000 man-hours on the Centre. “If we had done it manually, it would have taken a lot more time than that,” he said.

Tekla made it easy to handle design changes. When a model is changed, the ensuing workshop drawings immediately reflect the change as well. This is important because some 5,000 man-hours were expended just on the changes alone.

Doing clash checking and drawing up a parts and materials lists was also easier in Tekla.

Fabrication is easier with Tekla

Seacad’s role is to produce the workshop drawings for the steel assemblies needed while Banker Steel, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA, fabricates these beams. The physical
distance between Seacad in Jakarta and Banker Steel in Virginia is not a problem as communication happens on-line or by conference call and there is a two hour real time overlap at the end of Seacad’s day and the start of Banker Steel’s day.

After the workshop drawings are approved, they are sent to the fabricator in PDF format. Banker Steel has an engineer who uses Tekla Structures to view the model and to clarify the drawings for the workshop if and when required. “Using the latest version of the model, they can very quickly check the geometry and other aspects in different dimensions,” noted Mr. Martin.

In addition, Tekla helps the fabricator to assemble different parts within a fabricated member. This is because Tekla is able to output the necessary NC and KISS files that will also scribe the beam to indicate the location of the welded fittings. “When the fitter comes to assemble the welded brackets, he can see the scribe marks to assist in attaching the fittings” said Mr Martin. “We also provide extra check measurements to ensure alignment, especially in welded frames.” This gives Tekla Structures a huge advantage over conventional CAD software.

When the Centre finally opens its doors in 2014, the city of Orlando will have yet another world class landmark thanks to the efforts of Seacad, Banker Steel and Tekla.