The Charleston Board of Architectural Review has approved the conceptual plan for the redesign of the $142m Gaillard Auditorium in Charleston, US.
According to the conceptual design, the performance space will be reduced by nearly 1,000 seats with improved acoustics.
Mayor Joe Riley told abc news that the building would be made substantially more handsome on the outside, and inside, there would not be a performing arts space in America to rival what will be built there.
Plans also propose building offices around the outside of the current structure with the loading docks concealed in a courtyard.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012.
The city has raised about $71m from private donations and hopes to complete the renovations by 2014.
This is the first of three stages of approval, with preliminary approval detailing construction plans next, followed by final approval.