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Overture Center for the Arts

Moveable Orchestra Enclosure

Madison, Wisconsin

The Overture Hall consists of 2,251 seats within the Overture Center for the Arts facility located in Madison, Wisconsin.

The hall boasts a dedicated concert windpipe organ that was commissioned by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. This organ was built in Germany by the century-old firm of Orgelbau Klais Bonn and is permanently stored on a moveable enclosure structure.

We worked as a consultant to J.R. Clancy and our services consisted of designing the main structural steel framing system, precast concrete floor decks and numerous mechanical components. Additionally, we jointly designed the hinge bearings, door actuators and drive systems with J.R. Clancy’s mechanical engineering department.

The overall dimensions of the moveable organ enclosure are approximately 66 feet long by 18 feet wide by 45 feet high, with a total weight of over 375,000 pounds (187.5 tons). The orchestra enclosure is driven by a dual rigid chain system which moves the enclosure into the specified stage position on a series of steel wheels over railroad tracks recessed beneath the stage flooring. A key feature to this project involved the design of two 25-foot-wide by 45-foot-high front doors including custom support hinges. Each door weighs approximately 25,000 pounds and can be closed manually if necessary.

This structure is believed to be the largest moveable organ enclosure in any theater in the world