Today is Rush and Judy Dixon's "Relocating to Charleston" anniversary and Clark + Menefee (a brilliant but now disbanded architecture firm) is, by and large, to thank. The makings of this inspired chapter of two interns coming to this magnetic city started with a third year assignment at Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies. We were to visit an off-campus piece of architecture, study/sketch/photograph the building's merits and report back to the studio. The Middleton Inn was chosen, which at the time had recently been completed, garnering press and design awards. It was liberating to read how an inn just steps from The Middleton Plantation was boldly modern yet rooted in historic and local contexts. The stucco walls, the chimney pots, the "Charleston Green" paint, wood shutters, the rigor of the floor plan and detailing of the guest rooms are still humbling after all years.
“We saw it as a chance to prove that modernism didn’t have to be strident or out of place, so we took careful pains to have that reflect touches of Charleston tradition,” Clark says.
[from Robert Behre's Post + Courier article in 2011 as the building turned 25 years old.]
That visit securely planted the Charleston seed. Future excursions showed us the charm of the historic city, its cosmopolitan and European soul, and the reality of how an historic city can be relevant in a modern world. Happy Anniversary indeed.