We were humbled to be a small part of the next chapter for Charleston's homeless shelter, One80 Place, as they increased the number of beds available to veterans, women and children and in their downtown Charleston Family Center. There was more permitting assistance than architecture in this effort for us, which began in the fall. Donations from SCE&G, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, First Citizens and private citizens combined to create 22 additional beds, expanded restrooms and gathering space for adults and children.
Instead of being evaluated by the buildings we build, City of Charleston's Mayor John Tecklenburg suggested “I believe we are judged … by how we treat those in our community most in need,” he said. “The mission here … is to empower people to get back in the mainstream of being able to provide for themselves.”
Click here for the full Post & Courier article on the dedication of the new Family Center. To support One80 Place, please check on their website or Facebook page (One-Eighty Place) for opportunities ranging from monetary donations, volunteering, providing "Need of the Week" items and advocacy.
As young architecture students exploring the streets of Charleston, sketch books and (SLR) cameras in hand, Rush and I knew we were walking on hallowed architectural ground. Charleston's best of times and worst of times were visible in her historic structures - some preserved as museums, some renovated for current day functions, and the less lucky, waiting for their day of restoration. It was, therefore, a humbling moment when one of our wonderful clients asked for our assistance with a renovation to 107 E. Bay Street, one of the 13 historic and connected structures, currently known as Rainbow Row.
"Excellent examples of early-eighteen-century wharfside construction, the dwellings along East Bay Street provide insight into the mercantile life of Charleston." [Jonathan Poston, The Buildings of Charleston]
Originally designed and built as stores on the ground level and merchant's living quarters above, these buildings served Charleston's port and directly fronted the Cooper River. (The water's edge at this part of town has since shifted away.) As row houses, they mostly share a party wall in between houses with private access to the residences from the rear alley. Subsequent fires, the effects of the Civil War and the earthquake in 1886, all gave these buildings scars, dark chapters and in some instances a complete rebuild.
"In the pre-Revolutionary period this was the site of George Flagg's paint shop, which stocked pigment and oils for the painting of Charleston's houses. After the structure was destroyed in the fire of 1778, Flagg sold the empty lot in 1791 to John Blake." [Jonathan Poston, The Buildings of Charleston] As evidenced in the photo comparison, the building was once had a hipped roof which was altered to have a gable parapet wall. Alterations through the decades are common place as buildings undergo repairs, adapt to new families and functions.
The entire Rush Dixon Architects studio is humbled to be a part of the team for this next generation of 107 E. Bay which includes the very talented design and construction stewards, Brett Elrod (C. B. Elrod Construction) and Cortney Bishop (Courtney Bishop Design). We look forward to updating you on construction and design progress.
Rush Dixon Architects is a solutions-based, contemporary architecture and design firm. Results driven, we create value for our clients through designs that are both strategic and artful, always keeping client goals at the forefront. We believe that modern design is not found solely in the materials, but rather through the pursuit of better spaces for living and doing business. It is truly a privilege to be a small part of someone's incredible journey. In this case it was the accounting rockstars (yes, that's a thing) at Accountfully, a fully outsourced, modern accounting firm in Charleston, SC that focuses on entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-ups.
They out-grew their current office space and were in the process of purchasing 533 Rutledge Ave. for their new headquarters when we first met owners, Meredith and Brad Ebenhoeh. Our scope included reimagining the existing first floor layout for optimum operational flow, function and brand alignment as well as assembling a Permit Set of documents for the City of Charleston to review and approve prior to construction. The exercise of taking this historic gem and ensuring a relevant, future chapter is one of the best things about being an architect in Charleston - designing how modern and current functions can exist and thrive within historic walls.
The collaboration that followed yielded a work environment tailored to how Accountfully functions: a beverage bar for both staff and clients as a welcoming feature, the generous meeting space, a mix of private offices and open work spaces. The impeccable taste and instincts of our clients perfectly captured the Accountfully brand.
“Rush Dixon Architects was a dream to work with on our downtown commercial renovation. As timing was of the essence, we needed to move quickly and they delivered! Their communication was impeccable and deliverables were high quality. Their knowledge and experience of working with the city was very helpful in keeping our project on track. More than that, Rush and Judy are incredibly sweet and down to earth. We are now happy to call them friends." Meredith Ebenhoeh, Accountfully
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.
It's a privilege to participate in the built environment of Metro Charleston and the ever changing needs of the community. On the boards: Our proposal for a concept design for the next chapter of an auto repair shop in North Charleston, SC.
Rush Dixon Architects is now located at 875 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant, SC. This simple, mid-century building is a perfect space for our studio. Stop in to see us!
Building progress for new Cross Fit and Peace-Love-Hip Hop studio on Daniel Island, SC.