Olympia Theater

Gusman Center for the Performing Arts

Formerly known as the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia Theatre in downtown Miami opened in 1926 as a silent movie palace and amazed residents with its Moorish-themed ‘atmospheric’ architecture. Originally designed by John Eberson, it was renovated extensively in the 1970’s by famed Miami architect Morris Lapidus and re-opened as the home of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2003, the 2,000-seat theatre was given a new, phased renovation. The design team carefully restored the building’s intricate original plaster work and decorative painting. FDA updated the building’s technical systems with new stage rigging and lighting, and inconspicuously added a new stage lighting cove in the ceiling over the main auditorium to preserve the building’s original star ceiling (an Eberson trademark).

FDA also designed new seating layouts to improve the sightlines of the hall and bring the theatre into compliance with present-day ADA accessibility requirements. Work on the Gusman Center continues with lobby restoration; plans for a backstage addition are also under consideration.

  • Client: Gusman Center for the Performing Arts
  • Architect: R.J. Heisenbottle
  • Completion Year: 2003
  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Acoustician: Artec
  • Capacity: 2,000 seats


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