Opposition vocal as review board OKs controversial Clemson design

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A modern addition is one step closer to joining Charleston historic skyline. Clemson University's new education building design got another thumbs up Wednesday night.

Charleston is known for preserving its past, but history is butting heads with modern architecture, a conflict that's making some residents upset.

The three-story contemporary building will stand out among the historic buildings -- and that's the problem for some people.

"Is it compatible, does it look like the others? Does it belong?" asked one opponent of the design. "It is anarchitecturall aberration."

Even neighbors of the proposed building were apprehensive of the design.

"We own the house from across the street. We are the people who will be looking at this from our 1813 house that we invested our life savings in. I find it offensive," said Glenda Nemus.

The proposed design has no stone, brick, or wood like the homes and buildings surrounding it. Instead, glass stretches from floor to ceiling with a lattice of aluminum screens.

The few who did speak in favor of the building says the contemporary approach to architecture is exactly what Charleston needs.

"I think it would be a beautiful and appropriate addition to the neighborhood," said one supporter.

"Charleston deserves a design of thiscaliberr," said another.

Architect Brad Cloepfil understands people's concerns but feels the project will add even more character to the historic downtown area.

"I truly believe thisbuildingg will be a loved building after it's built," he said.

But that feeling is clearly not shared with everyone, especially those who say it's more suited for Sin City than it is the Holy City.

It's not a done deal yet, though. The Board of Architectural Review still has to give it one more approval before builders can break ground.

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