Position on the Spaulding Paolozzi Center

6/26/2014

Position on the Spaulding Paolozzi Center
(Clemson Architecture Building)

 

While Charleston's Board of Architectural Review (BAR) voted Wednesday to move forward, Historic Charleston Foundation did not support the current proposed design of the Spaulding Paolozzi Center due to how its proposed use of primary materials has changed since initial presentations.

 
In October of 2012, Historic Charleston Foundation supported the conceptual design of the proposed Clemson Architecture building (Spaulding Paolozzi Center). The building's height, scale and mass was appropriate, and the Foundation thought it was an opportunity to see high quality modern design in a part of the city that could handle such architecture given its surrounding context on Meeting Street.

This design has received much attention because the Foundation and the community understand that it is an incredibly important new building for downtown Charleston.

 

Since the initial conceptual design was presented, the Foundation has actively followed the progress of the Spaulding Paolozzi Center project. In 2012 the Foundation stated that the next stage of review was going to be extremely important since the proposal featured a fairly unorthodox treatment of concrete and metal screens. In its various stages, the project's architects returned with updates, based on the Foundation's and community's input, that have raised significant concerns.

Upon reviewing the latest updates to and materials of the project, the Foundation sees the removal of various elements, including the green roof, a third floor garden at the rear of the property, trellis shading elements at the third floor, among others, as departures from the architectural direction of the project as it was originally presented. In addition, the metal screen element on the Meeting Street facade, which is a major component and has been a concern, has been extended to the ground in the north bay and to the 3rd floor in the center bay. The metal screen element now overwhelms the front elevation, making the building much more imposing and mechanical. The Foundation cannot support the overall execution of the major materials, the metal screening and perforated concrete, because they have not been positively refined. Specific concerns include: 

  • the two front bays, which did not previously (as of October 2013) have screening on the ground floor north bay and center 3rd floor bay,
  • the need for fins on the window mullions at ground level,
  • the thin depth of the metal screen for the front elevation, its durability-how it will weather over time, as well as what the connections and seams will look like,
  • the metal "picket screen" at the rear elevation facing Ansonborough,
  • the Annex building behind the Strobel House continues to be too large; its garage door should have frosted glazing; its large opening should correspond to the opening on the main building across the terrace,
  • the unclear proposed material of the mechanical screen on the Annex building,
  • wholesale removal of: the green roof, landscaped rear terrace on the 3rd floor and trellis elements on the 3rd floor open terraces, and
  • the amount of concrete for outdoor paving and the overall reduction of landscaping across the site.

Read more from Wednesday's BAR meeting.

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Established in 1947, Historic Charleston Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the historical, architectural and material culture that make up Charleston's rich and irreplaceable heritage. More>

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Historic Charleston Foundation
40 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843-723-1623

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