Who says Charleston resists the new?

The city’s Board of Architectural Review voted 3-1 tonight to give early approval to a contemporary architecture center at Meeting and George streets, a glass and concrete design at once derided as Martian junk and “two huge lips” and praised as inspirational and exciting.

Architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture told those inside the packed meeting room that it’s exciting that so many people in the community are passionate about architecture.

But their passions were far from the same.

Even the city’s two main preservation groups split. Robert Gurley of the Preservation Society said the building didn’t fit on the site and was “an unrefined box.” Winslow Hastie of the Historic Charleston Foundation disagreed and said, “We think the boldess is actually a positive step.”

Many of the opponents lived in the nearby Ansonborough neighborhood and said they thought the 30,000-square foot building was too big and not representational of Charleston.

Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.