A vibrant hub of civic, intellectual and artistic activity, the new Gaillard Performance Hall will remain easily accessible, pedestrian-friendly, and well-located near other educational, cultural and performance venues within our city.

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The Project > The Building

Exploring The new Gaillard Center.

A wellspring for economic development, educational inspiration and artistic expression.

A unique private-public cooperation is allowing the community of Charleston the opportunity to build a new $142-million Gaillard Center that will address simultaneously a diverse and important set of needs. The neo-classical building, designed by David M. Schwarz Architects of Washington DC, will encompass a world-class performance hall reminiscent of old European opera houses, a flexible, elegant exhibition space, and consolidated, efficient municipal offices, all surrounded by beautiful manicured gardens and event lawns.

The Gaillard project, partly a renovation, partly a reconstruction, will strip the existing Gaillard and build the new center on its framework. The new construction will wrap around three sides of the existing building, creating a public structure and beautified outdoor space in keeping with Charleston's architectural tradition and fit for one of Charleston's main thoroughfares. The new building will remain easily accessible, pedestrian-friendly, and well-located near other educational, cultural, and performance venues of our city.

The Gaillard Center will offer residents, businesses, visitors, children, the elderly and the disabled, a communal space that will bring people together with ease, energize projects and ideas, and make new things and thinking possible.


A project as large and compelling as the new Gaillard Center sparks the imagination.

The New Gaillard Performance Hall

A time to celebrate.

Together with the restored historic Dock Street Theatre and the renovated Memminger Auditorium, the new Gaillard Center Performance Hall will complete Charleston's acclaimed arts infrastructure - like a specially cut center stone in Charleston's tiara of performance venues, a dazzling space where creativity will blossom and hearts and minds will open together to magical experiences.

Not intended to be a multi-use performance space, the new Gaillard Center Performance Hall is specifically sized to 1,800 seats to create an intimate experience for performers and patrons. Its design echoes the tradition of Europe's great opera houses and features:

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Superb acoustics, meticulously integrated in the design, construction, and furnishing of every component of the hall

An oval shaped orchestra level with two center aisles and three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies designed to enhance the acoustical experience and bring the audience closer to the stage

Beautifully designed opera boxes on the second level

A dress circle and a lower and upper gallery, with a lobby and a hospitality center on dress circle and gallery levels

Disabled and elderly friendly space and access, with ample space for seating, multiple elevators, and convenient restrooms

A smaller stage and a redesigned backstage, pit, and dressing rooms, properly sized and conceived to accommodate productions and programs fit for our city's audience and market

Elegant décor and design inspired by local and indigenous elements.

The new performance hall will offers an unprecedented opportunity to expand exposure to the arts for all local school-age children through performances, workshops, tours, and classes with performers, artists, and arts ensembles.

The new Gaillard Center Performance Hall is an awe-inspiring place where together we can reach new heights in artistic achievement.

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Gaillard Center is a catalyst to elevate the
cultural life of Charleston.

A Space for Business and Celebration

Intimate, elegant & distinctive.

The new Gaillard Center's elegantly conceived and expanded exhibition and banquet space will make downtown Charleston a superb destination for businesses and corporations, festivals and trade shows, and a host of private events and celebrations. The business-generating and revenue-producing aspects of this space are important for our city.

The new Gaillard Center will offer close to 16,000 square feet of beautiful ballroom and flexible exhibition and banquet space distributed around a two-story grand lobby. This space, suitable for weddings, banquets, conventions, trade shows, musical events, arts shows, board meetings and festivals, will be supported by pre-function kitchen and banquet facilities, rigging for lighting and sound equipment, and plentiful restrooms. It will be easily divisible and adaptable to the needs of the occasion, be it a wedding or a business convention. Movement throughout the ballroom and exhibition space will be facilitated by elderly- and disabled-friendly entrances and seating and well-designed amenities.

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This event space opens to a lovely 7,300 sq. ft. banquet lawn just outside the banquet hall doors.

The center's exhibition and meeting space, expected to yield $500,000 a year in rental revenue, supports Charleston's growing potential as a meeting and convention destination that will attract professionals to our historic downtown and foster economic development vital to our city's continued well-being.

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New, centralized location for convenient
resident services.

A Place for Civic Endeavors

Efficient, open public space.

The new Gaillard Center will provide an economical and functional municipal office space that will offer all citizens and those doing business with the city more convenient, accessible, and efficient services.

Combined at the new Gaillard Center, in a kiosk-style permit center, will be all the city offices in building and construction, development, business permitting, revenue collections, planning, zoning, and building inspections, all next to a convenient parking garage. Also in the new Gaillard Center will be a new permanent city emergency operations center and catastrophe-safe storage of city archives and records.

This new concentration of office space will save taxpayers time and money, in addition to saving the city approximately $1 million annually, long-term, in city office lease expenditure.

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The History

Of Charleston Arts

In 1736, Charleston gave birth to the country's first theater and later, to the first opera performance. More than 275 years later, our love of the arts flourishes.

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Frequently Asked

A new Gaillard Center is essential
to the cultural life and economy
of our city.

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New Civic Centerpiece

The new Gaillard Center is an
important community commitment.
Every dollar counts, including yours!

Ways To Support

"It's the singular, inspiring space to bring businesses
          from across the country - and the world - together."

Marc ChardonCEO, Blackbaud