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Looking Back at 49 Years of Excellence in Hospitality Design



Rabun & Partners Founded

After graduating from Auburn University in 1969 and working at Jova Daniels Busby from 1971-1975, Joe Rabun forms Rabun & Partners Architects, with offices located at Piedmont Center.


Mobile Hilton

Rabun completes its first hospitality commission, the Hilton in Mobile, Alabama. Now a Marriott, this design epitomizes the brutalist style of the 1960s and 70s.

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Rabun Whatley Hatch

Rod Whatley and Ted Hatch are promoted to firm principals.


First AIA Award

Rabun is presented with the AIA Honor Award for the design of the Northside Post Office in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Rabun Hatch

Rabun re-brands as Rabun Hatch.


Rabun Joins IACC

Rabun becomes the official Architecture and Design consultant of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), providing members with insight and guidance on the evaluation of meeting space and conference hotels.

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Rabun Hatch Portman McWhorter Hatch & Rauh

Greg Portman, Glen McWhorter, Helen Hatch, and Richard Rauh are promoted to firm principals.


Second AIA Award

Rabun is presented with the AIA Award for Excellence in Architecture for renovations to the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Rabun Hatch Portman McWhorter

Rabun re-brands as Rabun Hatch Portman McWhorter.


Inter-Continental Hilton Head

Rabun designs the prestigious Inter-Continental in Hilton Head, South Carolina (now the Westin). This project garnered numerous awards, including the 1985 AIA Award for Excellence in Architecture and the 1986 Restaurant & Hotel Design "Best Hotel" Award.

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Brookwood Exchange Office

Rabun moves from Piedmont Center to The Brookwood Exchange Building at 1708 Peachtree Street in Atlanta.


Atlanta Airport Hilton

Rabun designs the iconic, post-modern Hilton next to the Atlanta Airport.



North Hampton

Rabun takes on its first multi-family commission - the North Hampton Condominiums in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This striking project was designed to provide every unit with stunning views, making it an instant real-estate success.


Peachtree Midtown Office

Rabun relocates from the Piedmont Center Office to 805 Peachtree Street. This building currently serves as an iconic Midtown condominium property.

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Westin Buckhead

Opened as the Swissotel, the Westin Buckhead has become a local icon for many Atlanta residents. In 1992, Rabun received the NAHB Award of Excellence for the design of this hotel.


Conference Center Planning and Design

Joe Rabun contributed his vast knowledge of hospitality and conference center design to Richard H. Penner's Conference Center Planning and Design: "A Guide for Architects, Designers, Meeting Planners and Facility Managers" published by Clean Earth Books. 

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Four Seasons Atlanta

Originally flagged as the Occidental Grand Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel & Residences in Midtown, Atlanta, becomes the first 5-Star hotel in the city, marking a turning point for the Capital of the South. This is also the first Rabun project to utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) software in its development.


Rabun Hogan Ota Rasche

Tom Hogan, Dean Ota, and Robert Rasche are promoted to firm principals.

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The Classic Center

Branching out beyond hospitality, Rabun designs The Classic Center, a large performing arts and convention facility in downtown Athens, Georgia. The entire complex is sensitively organized around the Historic Firehall No. 1, which has been preserved and renovated into the premier meeting space of the facility.


Hilton Garden Inn Prototype

Rabun worked directly with Hilton Hotels to develop the first Limited-Service branded Hilton product, the Hilton Garden Inn. Widely regarded as one of Hilton's most successful brands, over 40 of these hotels would be designed by Rabun Architects.

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Emory Hotel & Conference Center

Working with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Rabun was commissioned to design the Emory Hotel & Conference Center, located within the virgin woodlands adjacent to the University. Public amenities were strategically organized to capture the natural beauty of the surroundings, providing a beautiful and relaxing experience for visitors.


Grant Building Office

Rabun relocates from Midtown to the historic Grant Building at 44 Broad Street in Downtown Atlanta.

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Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Chicago

One of the most unique Hilton Garden Inn properties, this downtown Chicago hotel was designed to fit seamlessly into its urban environment.


Nashville Hilton

Rabun helps the city of Nashville, Tennessee, welcome visitors with the design of the iconic downtown Hilton.

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First ABC Award

Rabun receives the Associated Builders & Contractors Award for the design and construction of the Hilton Hotel at Easton in Columbus, Ohio.


The Chattanoogan

Designed with meetings in mind, The Chattanoogan opens as the first IACC-Certified hotel in the world.

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Southern Pines Conference Center

With Rabun’s extensive conference center experience, the firm helped Callaway Gardens open the Southern Pine Conference Center. This IACC certified project was also the first LEED certified conference center in the country, and Georgia’s second LEED certified project of any type. 


Washington Duke Inn

Following Rabun's original 1987 design work, Rabun completed the renovations and additions to the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club at Duke University. With a challenging operational timeline, Rabun designed the renovation to allow the hotel to remain open during the construction process.

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Rabun Rasche Rector Reece

Dana Rector and Mark Reece are promoted to firm principals.


St. Regis Buckhead

Following the success of the Four Seasons project in Midtown, Rabun is commissioned to design the iconic St. Regis Buckhead Hotel & Residences in Atlanta, Georgia. This project would go on to win numerous accolades, including a finalist position in the 2010 Hospitality Design Awards, and quickly became Atlanta's premiere residential address, with the Penthouse unit fetching an unprecedented $15.9 million asking price in 2020.

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Westin Birmingham

Working alongside the City of Birmingham, Alabama, Rabun is commissioned to design the Westin Hotel and adjoining connections to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.


Charlotte Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites

The completion of the Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites in Charlotte, North Carolina marks the first Rabun project to be completed entirely in 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. All subsequent Rabun projects would be fully designed and documented utilizing this technology.

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J.B. Duke Hotel

Rabun continues its relationship with Duke University by completing the design and construction of the J.B. Duke Hotel. This includes the renovation of the existing R. David Thomas Center at the Fuqua School of Business.


Rabun Architects

The firm recognizes its long-standing founder, Joe Rabun, by re-branding as Rabun Architects.

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Coastal States Office

Rabun relocates to its present office in the Coastal States building at 260 Peachtree Street in Atlanta.


Hilton Legacy Award

Rabun receives the 2018 Hilton Legacy Award for North American New Build of the Year for the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs. The project also garnered the 2019 Associated Builders & Contractors Award.



The Lodge at Gulf State Park

After the 2010 BP oil-spill event, Rabun worked with the State of Alabama on The Lodge at Gulf State Park, an environmentally-sensitive project which achieved LEED Gold, SITES Platinum, and FORTIFIED Commercial Certification in 2018.


Hilton Legacy Award

Nearly 20 years after completing the iconic downtown Nashville Hilton, Rabun receives the 2019 Hilton Legacy Award for North American New Build of the Year for the Hilton Nashville Green Hills.

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Lexington City Center

After more than a decade in the making, the 218-room City Center Marriott Hotel, the 119-room Residence Inn, offices, and luxury condominiums opened for guests and visitors alike the weekend before Christmas. The project has a dramatic impact on the urban fabric of Lexington, covering an entire city block.


45-Year Anniversay

After completing over 200 successful hospitality projects, covering over 30 states, Rabun celebrates its 45-year anniversary. With an eye toward the future, we cannot wait to see what the next 45 years brings us!

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