Historic building saved on King Street; a 2-year construction project wraps up

 

DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) - The end is in sight for a nearly 2-year construction project happening to a historic building, that was collapsing into the street, on King Street between Wentworth St. and Society St.

You have probably noticed this construction project along King St. It is hard to miss, because of a 40-ton support structure sits in front of the building to hold it up while the construction takes place on the inside. The structure has blocked part of the left-hand sidewalk & left traffic lane since 2017. However, today, that all changes...

Renew Urban, the contractors in charge of construction, say that a huge milestone has happened in the project. The framework of the building is complete and the building can now stand up on its own, meaning that the massive support structure, that is obstructing the flow of traffic, is no longer needed.

Construction was necessary for public safety because the historic building began bowing out into the street putting pedestrians lives at risk. For nearly two years, construction has been underway. The contractors say that the biggest accomplishment from construction is that they saved the facade & historic integrity of the building while fixing its structural issues & making it safe.

Mark Regalbuto, Partner of Renew Urban says, “That’s always the goal to preserve the historic fabric to the extent that you can. We proved in this case that with effort, you can do a lot. That is what makes Charleston special, so the idea is to keep all the pediments and all the detailing right. You could have recreated it, but it’s not the same”

As the 40-ton support structure is removed from this construction site, there will be closures along King St. from Society St. to Wentworth St. that will happen every night this week (Monday, March 25 - Friday, March 29th) from 4pm-until midnight. Contractors say all loud construction will cease by 10PM. 

 

High Above Traditional Charleston, a Modern Home Finds its Roost

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A skyward addition to an antebellum Charleston warehouse rises in an architecturally conservative city.

Built before modern air-conditioning, Charleston is a city whose definition of indoor/outdoor living is more French doors than floor-to-ceiling glass, a standard that is vigilantly upheld by local preservation groups. So when web developer Rich Yessian and architect Kevan Hoertdoerfer submitted plans to set a steel sanctuary, complete with a roof garden, atop a warehouse that dates from 1858, they prepared for an uphill battle.

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Web developer Rich Yessian involved local preservation groups early and often to gain permission to unite home, office, and outdoors at an aged warehouse that, according to Sanborn Maps, predates the Civil War.

"The anticipation going in was that there would be a lot of pushback," notes Hoertdoefer, wryly. But his client’s wishes were clear.

The interior nods to its host structure’s heritage with some walls and the ceiling clad in reclaimed oak from a Kentucky farmhouse. Custom pendants by Mickus Projects hang above a Curzon table from Modloft.

Inspired by the condos that crown taller cities like New York, Rich dreamt of living somewhere that collapsed the distance between work and nature. When his company, Blue Ion, relocated to the top floor of a warehouse downtown, he saw his chance.

The staggered terrace, lined with cast iron plants (Aspidistra elatior), leads up from the living room.  

"In our previous office, there was a ladder that took you onto the roof," he recalls. "I thought that was really cool, to have the ability to pop up and hang out." Hiring Hoertdoerfer, who oversaw the renovation of Blue Ion’s workspace, Rich set out to determine if the warehouse—and city—could support a rooftop addition that replicated that natural connection.

Rich and his girlfriend Arielle sit on an IKEA sofa; the windows are from Charleston Glass.  

The proposal Hoertdoerfer came up with, which called for installing a new, double-height story on a large steel foundation, seemed certain to run afoul of traditionalists.

Twenty species of drought-resistant succulents, punctuated by solar panels, carpet the top of the home. Green Roof Outfitters installed the plants in modules.  

Yet urban renewal can make strange bedfellows. The neighborhood had recovered slowly after Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, and it was still in flux when Rich arrived more than 20 years later. "There was a sweet spot for this project where the preservation groups felt comfortable supporting it," says Hoertdoerfer, adding, "If it was two blocks in a different direction, they might have been more reluctant."

The architect took that blessing and teamed with Charleston Plantworks and general contractors Mark Regalbuto and Andy Meihaus of Renew Urban Charleston to design a perch that provides outdoor interludes during Rich’s downtime, beginning with an elevator that opens onto a patio. From a set of barn doors, tigerwood steps rise toward an alfresco dining area and a deck with a hot tub. When Rich hosts gatherings or unofficial office happy hours here, operable louvers, arranged in a bold, abstract pattern, offer privacy. The network of terraces culminates in a succulent-planted roof with views of downtown and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

It’s possible the home’s runaway success represents a shifting attitude towards modernism in one of the country’s oldest cities; last November, it was honored with a Design Excellence Award by the municipality. But for Rich, it’s a personal triumph, one he’s still marveling over: "I’m just surprised it played out as well as did without it having been done before in Charleston." 

Source: https://www.dwell.com/article/high-above-t...