Design proposal causing building debate in Charleston

(Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- An architectural debate is beginning to heat up in Charleston.

The proposed new Clemson Architecture Center is causing some to question where the modern design fits in one of the oldest cities in the nation. It's a concept design that's getting a second look.

"The straight lines and the concrete and steel -{} just everything about it says modern. Nothing says Charleston. Not to me," says resident Andy Collier.

The building is proposed to be the new Clemson Architecture Center. The current building at the corner of Meeting and George streets will be torn down and replaced.

"Modern is a term that's relative. I'd like to think of it as a contemporary building, and that is a building of its time," said Ray Huff, director of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston.{}

Huff says the proposed state-owned building will become part of the changing urban fabric of Meeting Street. He says the architects selected for the project understand the city and its historical significance.

The Preservation Society of Charleston disagrees with Huff. They say it's not right for the corner.

"It's not exactly amateur of style, whether it's traditional or temporary it's just, 'Is it right for the site?' We don't believe it is right for the sight," said Robert Gurley.

Gurley is the Directory of Advocacy for the Charleston Preservation Society. He says they've worked with Clemson to make the design more appropriate but so far, no noticeable changes have been made. Gurley says the design doesn't follow the design flow of other single houses in the area.{}

"It's going to be a very prominent building, it is a bold design. Again, we don't think it's a bad design, just not for that location," said Gurley.

The Board of Architectural review is recommending the concept for approval. Huff says it's a building people will grow to love.

"I think it's great, a great change for Charleston and we don't have anything like it here. I think the city is ready for it,"said College of Charleston student Allison Gerrits.

The board of architectural review still has two phases left in the approval of the building.