As architects in Charleston, we are students of history successfully meeting modernity and seek out those moments when homage is paid to historic structures with meaningful renovations for current day functions. During a recent visit to Rome, we found ourselves in one such transformation at the Palazzo Pulieri Ginetti - the Elizabeth Unique Hotel. An ancient palazzo, lush and thoughtful interiors by Studio Marincola Architects, art curated by the nearby Russo Art Gallery - it’s a wonder we ever left. The architects, interior designers, artists and craftspeople involved with this hotel design struck the perfect balance of honoring the historic vessel it inhabits while offering an environment that is somehow bold and restrained at the same time; the details were as powerful as the overarching effect. Bravo, we will be learning from this one for a long time.
The design of this residence began as a collaboration between Alka Construction and Rush Dixon Architects to continue the Fulton Neighborhood’s “unique modern living” approach to the built environment. We appreciate what Alka has created in this neighborhood and our collective goal was to create a “Lowcountry Modern” aesthetic that responds to the site. Prior to the commencement of construction the homeowners purchased the property; we were then able to customize the design to their passions and way of living.
The house was designed to have functional and easy spaces to live in, that can work equally well for entertaining, family time or solitude. A significant design moment is the custom wood scrim wall which not only separates the entry from the dining room, but displays artifacts from the homeowners’ many travels. We measured each of these special pieces and created several iterations of the wall detail until we landed on the best configuration.
The properties in Fulton are intentionally modest in size which creates a rich density similar to the courtyard living of neo-traditional neighborhoods like Rosemary Beach or Alys Beach. This creates a challenge when laying out the house and exterior living spaces as the goal is to create privacy and functionality. The site borders on beautiful wooded wetlands which we wanted to embrace as a natural backdrop and short view. The main entrance is centered on the dining room and living room which creates a view corridor through large full glass sliding doors to the woodlands. The master bedroom is another beneficiary of the wooded view.
South Carolina’s premier fertility center, Coastal Fertility Specialists, is expanding to the Nexton neighborhood to better serve patients in the Summerville area. As experienced experts with high pregnancy rates and national patient satisfaction awards, Coastal Fertility Specialists wanted a forward-thinking, modern design. Due date: 2020
“Modern architecture does not mean the use of immature new materials; the main thing is to refine materials in a more human direction.” Alvar Aalto
Design goals for this residence included simple lines, livable spaces and sustainability. Thoughtful and exacting decisions were made collectively with the client, architect and builder. Materials include warm woods, stucco and glass.
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.