The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is a $145 million, state-of-the-art, cultural venue whose unique architectural elements make it a landmark in the Atlanta skyline. The facility includes a 2,750 seat world-class theater that is designed to accommodate a broad range of potential uses including Broadway touring shows, touring popular music concerts, dramatic events, comedy acts, ballet, opera and corporate events. The building is the first major performing arts center to be built in the metro Atlanta area in four decades. The center sits alone, unobstructed by other buildings, on a high hill overlooking I-75. The building rises 114 feet above the 16-acre site. The exterior of the center has three giant arching metallic waves that reach across the top of the building and wrap around an enormous window wall in the front of the theatre.
The grand lobby entrance ranges from 60 to 80 feet high and features two monumental grand stair cases on either side. One stair case is accompanied by a magnificent backlit alabaster stone wall reaching more than 60 feet high. Lobby finishes are rounded out with a stone concierge desk, Venetian plaster walls, glass and stainless trim, substantial architectural lighting, and 10 contemporary chandeliers.
The theatre is built in the style of traditional European theaters, yet features state-of-the-art comfort and technology. Wireless internet is available throughout the building. Sound acoustical joints keep all vibrations from the structure so no noise will disturb the shows.
The interior of the theatre is a mix of deep reds and browns which complement the majestic purple curtain. Mesh brushed gold and silver metallic waves swoop upward toward the ceiling which forms a shimmering canopy above the audience. There are fourteen balcony boxes trimmed with fine fabric, rich ebony and cherry woodwork, some even include a private bar.
The theatre has 2,750 seats located on three levels including orchestra, mezzanine, and grand tier – seat capacity is considered ideal for Broadway shows as it can make a run profitable and ensure there everyone in the audience has a good seat. The design of the theatre is very intimate with the farthest seat only 160 feet from the stage.
The performing arts center is equipped to accommodate the opera and large touring Broadway shows, which can require a full orchestra pit and backstage storage. Lot space in back of the theatre gives tractor-trailers wide berth, allowing four of the rigs to be unloaded at once. This level of flexibility and convenience is not typically found in urban performing arts centers.
The exterior wave design was created because the building had to be high in the rear where scenery is housed. The Kynar finished aluminum panel waves build up from front to back to avoid the feeling of a short front and tall rear structure. The building goes deep into the ground to accommodate the orchestra pit which is 30 feet deep. Backstage, there are carpeted dressing rooms and a VIP green room. The center also has a ballroom that can accommodate 600 seated with a full-service kitchen, chef and catering staff.
The construction of this massive project used more than 70 subcontractors, vendors and suppliers. In total the Center consumed 28,000 yards of concrete, 10,000 gallons of paint, nearly 1 million work hours and 23,000 truck deliveries.