As revealed in Calavatra's renderings and models, the glass, steel, and white concrete structure is dominated by two swooping "leaves"; the larger starts from the top of the building, 186 feet from the ground, and reaches past the front of the building. Orchestra, state, and city officials hope that the dramatic sight will become a "postcard image," symbolizing Atlanta for the world at large.
"The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has been a truly visionary client," Calatrava said. "From the beginning, it has known what it wants to achieve: not only an exceptional concert hall, literally formed around the orchestra, but a building in which people can recognize the singularity of their city and state and take pride in them."
The main auditorium seats 2,000, with seats completely surrounding the stage. The ceiling of the auditorium can be raised from 48 feet to 104 feet in order to vary the acoustic effect. According to the ASO, the design was created from the inside out: acoustical consultant Larry Kirkegaard created guidelines for the hall that informed Calatrava's design.
The building will also contain a 300- to 350-seat rehearsal hall and a 300-seat studio hall, as well as an 11,000-square-foot "learning center."
Calatrava is perhaps best known for his curvaceous train stations and other transit buildings; his forthcoming projects include a new transit hub at the former site of the World Trade Center in New York. Among his performing arts projects are Tenerife Opera House in the Canary Islands and the Valencia Opera House in Spain. The American Institute of Architects recently awarded him a gold medal, its highest honor.