© Len Allington
© Len Allington

Classic Center, Classic Center Theater

Athens, Georgia

The Classic Center has provided the city of Athens, Georgia with a versatile venue for regional meetings and conventions. At the heart of the Center is the Classic Center Theatre – a 2,050-seat multi-use auditorium for both business events and popular entertainment programming.

Organized around the historic landmark Fire Hall No. 1 and adjacent to the Warehouse Historic District, the Classic Center was first programmed and planned by a team lead by the Polshek Partnership Architects (now Ennead), with full theatre consulting services provided by Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. Rabun Hogan Ota Rasche Architects worked as the local liaison and executive architect and shepherded early design work through bid documents and construction administration services.

University of Georgia music faculty echoed local interests and presented criteria for maintaining a classical hall with natural room acoustics. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, together with project acoustical consultant, Kirkegaard Associates, designed the space with a full complement of variable acoustics.

The full range of programming, anticipated in the design phases, has been realized since the completion of the venue in 1996. Performances have included a wide variety of events such as touring Broadway shows, live televised specials and popular music acts such as the local favorite rock group – REM.

Architects: Polshek Partnership Architects, LLP – Programming and Preliminary design
Rabun Hogan Ota Rasche Architects – Final design and Construction administration
Acoustics: Kirkegaard Associates
Size: 140,000 SF
Cost: $20,000,000
Completion: 1996