Atlantic City Convention Hall

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Atlantic City Convention Hall

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Atlantic City Convention Hall


This report is an original research that presents an architectural statistics of Atlantic City Convention Hall construction history. The report will develop an interest in information such as the period of construction, the nature of development. The financial expenditure in the building experiences, the cultural indication, and civilization that constructed it and how the building and planning of the hall occurred. Further speculations in the recent development in the hall will be essential. References will be primarily online because that is where international and historical data construes.


The art and science of construction rely on some factors that are not worth ignoring at any point. Despite the futility and little contribution each component has on the terminal building, if it is ignored or messed up with, the final product will not be worth. Atlantic City Conventional Hall is a part of the example that demonstrates the significance of each and every segment of a building, planning, and construction in the Global history. Ideally, there is no value in a construction that will not satisfy the needs and desires of the owner. Moreover, architecture and construction’s success is a consolidated exercise that involves some factors such as time, the architects, planners, financiers, designers, among other parties. Since Atlantic City had been a site that attracted many tourists from 1854, it enhanced the generation of the idea of construction of a massive centre that would accommodate several activities at a go. There was the need for luxury hotels, entertainment rooms, courts, business centers. As such, the Atlanta City Convention Hall is an ideal and representative sample of what architecture involves.

  1. The Period of Construction

Atlanta City Convention Hall also known as Boardwalk is a historical site that came to happen between 1926-1929. The hall exists on Boardwalk, in the West of Mississippi Avenue, Atlantic City, and Atlantic County of the New Jersey. According to HABS (1), the Hall was the labor of the American Society of Civil Engineers who left a Landmark as a monumental architectural and engineering accomplishment in Beaux Arts flair. At the time, the civilization honored amusement and recreation resort for plenty of states (175). According to HABS (1), 175 states and national conventions returned annually to the resort since it was the largest with interior spaces in the world without the roof posts or pillars.

During and after the construction, it served as  the recourse town’s principal congregational point for about ten years, and, it is a center for sporting, conventions, entertainment  and other remarkable activities. It has been hosting the World’s Leading Musical Device, a Pipe Organ.

Since its construction, there has been accommodation of a range of events at the Boardwalk Hall such as ball games, skating, brawling, bull-riding, assorted martial arts, as well as indoor varieties of football. Starting from 1930 to 1952, the Atlantic City Convention Hall has hosted the AC Seagulls hockey players, the AC Cardsharks an interior football club and Boardwalk Bullies minor-league hockey group of players (Historic Preservation 7). The Atlantic Ten men’s tertiary institution basketball conference stages its tournaments at this historic hall.

In ancient days, there were conventions and gatherings yearly especially the Miss America beauty display from the year 1929 to the year 2004. In 1964, it became the Democratic National Convention place during the Head of state Lyndon Johnson’s nomination. According to the Historic Preservation (4), it served during the re-election of Fannie Lou Hamer in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The hall has the world’s principal musical implement, a 33,000-pipe organ that had an influential resonation that appealed to the most pronounced musicians worldwide like Ray Charles, the Rolling and Frank Sinatra. According to Historic Preservation (8), the Hall has had several performances from current stars including Lady Gaga Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Bruce Springsteen and Rolling Stones. The Historical Preservation states that the planners considered the historical value of the musical organ as a folk instrument in the New Jersey gaming and exposition of power (5).

In 1949, the Hall helped in the preparation of the first color-televised surgery as attendees at an AMA convention viewed the on-goings at a proximate hospital. Later, in 1971, a Bell Jet Ranger became the forerunner plane to fly within the Boardwalk Hall. Since its existence, Convention Hall has had several renovations in the years 1959, 1984, and 2001. These renovations were to accommodate its ancient exquisiteness and efficacy while regulating contemporary conveniences.  In 2013, the hall was still the prime grossing mid-sized amphitheater in the United States, and it continues to host famous melodic artists, sporting occasions and special happenings like an annual Rodeo and Cirque Du Soleil.

  1. How Atlanta City Convention Hall (New Jersey) project was built (Design)

The Conventional Hall was built on seven acres piece of land as a progressive adaptation of the historical Romanesque period. Additionally, it was the grand largest auditorium with pillars and such recordable architectural and engineering efforts (Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society). The front portion of the Conventional Hall was out of the curved Indian limestone. The modeling of the arched roof originated from the Europe’s Philadelphia’s readings. The structure relied on ten pairs of three –hinged steel trusses that went three hundred and fifty feet thick and weighed two hundred and twenty tonnes each. These trusses were fastened on frame columns so that the structure would flex with ground pressure and the wind. There were individual sugar cane fibre acoustic tiles between the arches that looked more of the clay tile ceilings. The hall occupied the length and width of 456 x 310 feet under a barrel vault ceiling of 137 high (A C C H O S n.d.). Ideally, the space model was suitable for exhibitions and conventions as well as better technical advances in performance, acoustics and lighting. The designers were conscious about theatrical lighting and hence infused it in the building alongside one hundred and ninety-six thousand square feet barrel ceiling of tiles with aluminum paints. The tiles served as reflectors during shows as they offered dazzling lights in prospective of artificial lights from the exterior and private domains (Broadway Hall, n.d.). Within the building, there was a 268,000 square feet exhibit space that could serve as display areas, conference rooms for meetings and bath houses. Additionally, there was a platform of the width, depth and height of 110 x 85 x 165 feet, and a large switchboard. Furthermore, the designers factored the radio station demands within the building.

The Hall’s architects were Lockwood and Greene of Boston with stylishness to compete with the best lead parallel businesses. The Auditorium has been a historical construction that consists of the biggest internal spaces internationally (HABS 2). According to HABS (2), within the hall, there can be at least 40,000 people in the Great Hall where thirty thousand may occupy the Hall’s floor while ten thousand sit in the mezzanine. Due to the outstanding engineering achievements, the Atlanta Convention Hall became a Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Convention Hall has a Beaux Arts Classical frontage overlapped with Lombardic Romanesque and an Assyrian Revival. HABS (3) states that the two models were an innovation of architectural historians who existed in the 1920s. These historians included the pioneer Arthur Kingsley Porter and others who came up with The Lombard Romanesque and the British Museum concept that built up Assyrian archeological and Revival style (HABS 3).

Regarding the construction material, the Convention Hall consists of a façade segment in which limestone dominates with a mixture of an extraordinary multi-story gallery above the artistically sunken entrance, bordered by tall pillars. It also has a warped porch composed of limestone with small, edged trabeated belvederes (HABS 2). On the extreme peripheral part, there is a three-story winged surrounding. The particular inlaid architecture is Mediterranean with the frontal part facade full of superficial corbels, non-natural Ravennate basket principals, and tiled-roof shed. Since it is near the ocean, the hall also integrates flora and fauna like all other buildings as emblematic upper surfaces. In the rear of the front sub-division, there is a round-arched amphitheater covered in multi-colored yellow brick laid decorative configurations.


Figure1: Alexander Hamilton Custom House, New York. Built from 1899 to 1907 and a renovation in 1994. Original photographs, drawings, as well as other archival documents are used in the determination of the initial appearance of missing features to be recreated within the reconstruction zones.

(Photo courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration)


Senator Emerson L. Richards was the Atlantic City Convention Hall’s designer in 1928 whereas the architect was Merrick Long Island known as Midmer-Losh Organ Company. Its construction began in the year 1929, in the month of May, and was completed in December 1932 (Boardwalk Hall, n.d.). The positioning of the organ was in the main auditorium, with about eight organ segments. The divisions involved a stage section where the stage and desirable stage sub-divisions were left. In the left wing, there were Swell-chore, pedal left, unenclosed chore and string 1 Swell. Also, there was the right head pedal, high-solo flutes and reeds, and percussion. Additionally, there was the left forward area where the choir was positioned as opposed to the right forward which comprised of the brass chorus string II. On the lower side, there were four divisions; the left center, left upper, right upper and the right centre (A C C H O S n.d.). The left centre consisted of the gallery III and Gallery II also known as Diap’s and Orch. The right centre had the gallery I and II famously known as the reeds and flutes. On the other hand, the left upper and the right upper had fanfare string III and echoed respectively. The cost of the integral component was about $300,000.

Although the organ was to have two hundred and sixty-four (264) foot stops within the pedal, there was the need for revision so as to prevent the crowding of the right stage chamber. As a result, the Dulzian had to shift to the right stage centre for it gave poor resonation to the lowest notes hence the architectures impressed the idea of adding reed pipes (A C H O S n.d.). Therefore, the Diaphone-Dulzian, which produces eight Hz musical frequency was placed in the lower C- pipe, fifty-nine (59) feet high and three thousand, three hundred and fifty (3350)  weights, so as to suit the reed combination (Boardwalk Hall, n.d.). The organ relied on the use of Reed pipes especially the Egyptian horn, Musset Mirabilis, Euphone, as well as the brass trumpet. According to OMG, more improvement was in supplementing the organ with papier-mâché resonators in the echo division that was taken care of by Welte-mignin, a German Company (n.d.).

Approximately, there are 33,112 pipes in the Hall. The main auditorium is 487 x 288 x 137 feet with a floor area of 140,000 square feet. These give a volume of 5,500,000 cubic feet. As a result, the organ operates on a considerably complex wind pressure (100 inches) than most agencies to accomplish a sounding that is loud enough to fill the Hall (A C C H O S n.d.). The chief Hall has a measurement of 456 x 310 in the footage and the cask cellar ceiling is 137 feet high. Additionally, there are ten sets of three suspended steel binds that back the unusual bulky span with no subsidiary columns. Each pair of binds is about 350 feet and weighs 220 short tons. The trusses are compactly seized to the border columns so as to let the building uphold on to the wind and ground pressure. OMG Roofing notes that the cask ceiling contains coated aluminum roofing tiles whose adornment gives a resemblance to the Roman bath tiles and is spread out over 196,000 square feet (n.d.).

The right pedal division had a unique construction with the grand ophicleide rank that was placed on the hundred high pressure secured tightly to the pipe chest of the organ. The position played eighty-five (85) magnificent key manual and thirty-two (32) key pedal boards.

Construction Methods

Tools and Equipment

According to the Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society (n.d), the tools were asbestos, reeds, pipe, trusses, tiles and bricks.

Labor Force

The global managers of the labor force in the instrument section designer were Senator Emerson, L. Richards and architecture Midmarket- Losh Organ Company in Merrick long island, New York (Boardwalk Hall, n.d.). During the construction there were about eighty (80) technicians who participated in the installation activities within the hall. The Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society labor costs were about $500,000 .

Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service

  1. Speculation into How the Hall Would Be Constructed

Today, many architects apply natural science in historical buildings and ignore the traditional ancient kingdoms’ plans. As for amphitheaters, they are conical at the top with both ground and storey hallways. The Atlantic City Hall would also use glass ceramic materials with an elevated frontal portion. In the place of the circular roof, the design would use rectangular tops whose material is glass. It would also have a glass vaulted ceiling, converging corridors, outdoor terraces especially in areas where there are casinos and restaurants. There would be magnificent ballrooms in a sporting arena which would be circular so as to accommodate the increased population of the millennial generation. Due to globalization, the purchasing power has increased, and therefore, the building should have larger and many trade shows. The speculation of the modern building should contain the following:

Seating capacity

The designers have to consider the size of the sitting area that should accommodate at least 15,000 for concerts and 12,000 for games. Moreover, they should enlarge the club area to accommodate approximately 500 premium seats.


The ceiling should be high-tech in enhancing lighting effects. Therefore, the asbestos fireproofing must be avoided. With the increase in the number of audiences, the roof should have the sound absorbing material.


Apart from the toilets, there should be big dressing rooms for performers and a catering room for food storage during special events. Furthermore, the kitchen should be enlarged because many modern guests prefer self-service. Since there are many entertainment events, the designers should put in place enough production offices for drama and music. There should be particular areas assigned for cooling and heating where the mechanical and electrical systems should settle. The hall should be ethically standard for the physically challenged patrons and guests, through providing their amenities.

Disaster Management

As a disaster management strategy, the designers would have to use concrete slabs while constructing the wall, instead of the bricks. From the renovations, the organ would have six components only instead of eight. That is one thousand two hundred and thirty-five (1235) stop tabs managing five hundred and eighty-five (585) flute stops, thirty-five (35) melodic percussions, forty-six (46) non-melodic percussions and two hundred and sixty-five (265) reed stops. Furthermore, there would be one hundred and sixty-four (164) couplers, one hundred and twenty (120) swell pedal selectors and eighteen (18) tremolos. Additionally, the great and choir manuals would be sufficient to accommodate at least seven octaves, which would allow playing of eighty-five note compass.

Because of the ozone layer depletion, the roof would preferably have a white reflective roof membrane to facilitate the reduction of rooftop temperatures so as to enhance better performances. Additionally, it should consist of the light weight concrete, a deck that is structural and three plywood granular cap sheet roofs. Also, the labor would have to sweep the roof surface after construction to do away with loose granules.

Security Considerations

Due to insecurity, the building would need the USG Corp’s SECUROCK, drill, and OMG Roofing with locking nails. It should also have CCTV surveillance and screening systems that monitor the guests and events.  Moreover, it should have alternative energy sources for continuity in lighting and reduce pollution within the hall. In this case, the Mono-crystalline PV panels on the largest part of the building’s roof would be necessary. Since there are technological advancements, the architectures would have to consider aspects of internet connections as well.

Parking Space     

There should be an underground parking within the hall’s environments due to the increased number of motor vehicles among several individuals who visit the venue.

Education facilities

Since guests would prefer staying around the hall during performances and other roles, then there should be areas for reading and accessing library resources. Additionally, there can be access to e-materials where guests could go to research and learn about their areas of interest.

Children Care and Health Facilities

Since shoppers and audiences may have children, the hall should incorporate a section where children can play from and interact among their peers when they are bored with the games, athletics, and other performances. Also, there is a need for health facilities that would cater for the racers who get injured or feel sick.

Rehabilitated Historic Hotel, Cape May, New Jersey

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service


From this writing, it can be concluded that although construction varies with the era of execution, some essentials contribute towards the success of a particular design. From the above information, every designer and architecture contributed towards the outstanding emergence of the Atlanta City Conventional Hall. With a pre-conceived idea about the objective of the hall and the historical data of Atlantic City, the designers and architects can create a unique massive building. Furthermore, the presence of the exceptional organ and environment near the ocean welcomes the best design ever. However, with technological advancement and pure cultures, if the hall was built today, there would be several alterations. For instance, the shape would be rectangular, pyramidal or conical and the top would be covered in ceramic or glass. The podium would be circular so as to allow a better view to performances among the audience. The eating joints would be internal with others as external as a result of the ocean aesthetic and security cover. Therefore, it is clear that culture, history, designers, labor and architects determine the outcome of a building.


Works Cited

Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ Society, Inc. “The Midmer-Losh Organ.” (2000): n.d.

Boardwalk Hall.”Midmer-Losh.” (2015): n.d.

Historic Preservation. Whole Building Design Guide.” n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015

n.a. Historic American Buildings Survey Atlantic City Convention Hall. National Park

Service U.S. Department of the Interior. 1-3 .n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

OMG Roofing Inc. “Thomas Co. uses OMG adhesive to secure new roof on the Atlantic City Convention Center in New Jersey.” (2015): n.p.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.”Boardwalk Hall”. (2013): n.d.

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