If you go
To learn more or weigh in on the design of Clemson's new architecture building:
What: Charleston Board of Architectural Review meeting
When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Charleston County School District building, third floor, 75 Calhoun St.
Clemson University's controversial proposed architecture center comes before the city's Board of Architectural Review Wednesday for preliminary approval.
The Spaulding Paolozzi Center at the corner of George and Meeting streets has a bold, contemporary design that has raised concern among some preservationists and neighborhood residents.
Ray Huff, director of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston, said the center has made some modifications to the building's previous design, and it will present those changes to the BAR.
Huff said he's not sure what the board will do. But he's certain that Clemson listened to neighborhood residents. "We've been pretty exhaustive in terms of reaching out to the community," he said.
He also said he's not sure when the building will come before the board for final approval.
The BAR must approve new constructions, alterations and demolitions in the city's Old and Historic District. The board has no set architectural guidelines for new construction but tries to ensure the building's design relates to its immediate surroundings and the district's prevailing character.
Angela Drake, president of the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, from the area where the new building will sit, said her group is opposed to the design.
"Our concern is the George Street facade," she said, "It's inelegant with a metal screen and two eyelids looking at you. ... It's a visual blah."
The city's two main preservation groups are split in their reaction to the building. Robert Gurley, director of advocacy of the Preservation Society of Charleston, said his group is opposed to the design. "The proposed design has no relation to the historic Ansonborough neighborhood, or the adjacent historic Middleton-Pinckney House."
But Winslow Hastie, chief preservation officer at the Historic Charleston Foundation, has said, "We think the boldness is actually a positive step."
Last October, Clemson officials and Portland, Ore., architect Brad Cloepfil were set to submit their controversially novel design, marked by a curving concrete wall perforated with oval openings and a highly transparent front along Meeting, to the BAR. They were thwarted when not enough board members could be rounded up to legally take a vote, and many have been puzzled why it has taken so long for their return.
Rick Goodstein, Clemson's dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, has said the school has hired Choate Construction, and that construction possibly could begin not long after the BAR's July meeting.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.
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