Last I heard, Ted has been shying away from recommending the soundproofed-shell-with-everything-else-hanging-off-of-it design. The engineering specs are from another manufacturer's clips. But I am due for one last call to Ted before finally spec'ing out the soundproofing.
I think the idea of having beefier firring channels is to increase the apparent mass to allow less flex of the wall/ceiling assembly.
I do appreciate all of the constructive criticism and advice. Will have more pictures of the space this weekend.
And I definitely agree that there are major questionable design decisions that were made in that room. I would also point out that the screen-seating distance appears way too short for the first row, and possible even for the second row. But who knows what kind of distortions could be introduced by whatever lens the photographer used. I also like how the sound containment consideration (if there was one) ended up in a window curtain assembly in the room partition. And it's hard for me to actually tell, but it looks like they don't even have a seat in what I would say is probably the best viewing spot which is the middle of the second row. And finally, if the rear wall is symmetrical to the rear shelves as the front wall is to the front shelves, there is very little room between the second row of seats and the rear wall which would seem to compromise the surround channels.
I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt with the lighting and assume that the front-facing lighting was a screen wash, comparable to how some people put recessed lights above their screen to light the screen up before a show, and that they would always be off when there was something showing. But you're probably right in that it was just improperly thought out.