The city of Charleston wanted to transform a tired, modernist 1960s performing arts space into a vibrant, world-class multipurpose theater located in the heart of one of its most significant historic neighborhoods. Partnering with David M. Schwarz Architects, ESa’s design team renovated the existing building to allow for 1,800 seats, with state of the art acoustics and theatrical equipment. The architectural expression fits handsomely into the charming Charleston streetscape, creating a successful urban solution with current interpretations of traditional materials and detailing to honor the rich architectural tradition of the peninsula.

The new center is a premier site for attractions and enrichment, enhancing the range, quality, and accessibility of cultural activities available to the public; promoting arts education; and contributing to the cultural life of Charleston and the surrounding region. Home to the annual Spoleto Festival USA, the venue can host a variety of other performing arts, entertainment, and community events.

The project also includes renovation of approximately 40,000 square feet of existing support space, a new banquet hall, and an addition to house new municipal offices. The revitalized Gaillard Center now serves as the proud centerpiece of Charleston’s cultural district, welcoming today’s crowds while paying tribute to the unique history and architecture of the city.

With ESa’s role as the architect-of-record on the Gaillard Center project has affirmed my confidence in its creative skills set. The firm’s attention to detail in documents; its engaging compatibility with the design architect with whom it has a history; and its superlative ability in management of consultants, schedules and documentation have contributed to the perfect team effort to get this job finished in the best possible manner. Working with ESa on The Gaillard and knowing that they have everything under control has been a pleasure. —Vicki Dickerson, President & CEO, The Projects Group

Photos: © Steve Hall @ Hedrich Blessing Photographers