Historic Charleston architecture styles still making waves in the low country over a century later
Charleston’s historical allure attracts visitors to the peninsula year after year. To uphold the city’s distinct character, the city’s regulatory framework for new developments within the downtown area guarantees continuity between past and present buildings. See how architectural features from Charleston’s late 1800s constructions continue to inspire the design of contemporary mixed-use and residential projects.
655 East Bay
655 East Bay pays homage to Charleston’s upper peninsula by incorporating historic design elements throughout the exterior. The larger main structure, clad in brick, houses 51 residential apartment units and features corbeling and parapet cap detailing as well as a symmetrically centered grand stair facing East Bay Street. Separate carriage house structures include three-story townhomes featuring private porches adorned with indiscreet white columns and picket railings, and gate entrances on the ground floor. An intimate brick street court tucked behind the residential gates provides circulation into the site as well as a small pocket park and gardens with enclosed brick sitting walls. The front exterior of the building is addressed at street level with large curvature glazed windows fronting the former site’s untouched natural live oak canopy trees.
The Merchant – 102 Sottile St.
The Merchant spans ten residential buildings, with each building’s design inspired by historic Charleston’s architecture over the years dating back to the 1800s. The intention to feature a combination of different building styles was to inspire a neighborhood fabric feel that included a mixture of exterior materials and details, varying scales, and a pedestrian-oriented public realm – all which make up Charleston’s prominent architectural foundation it is widely known for.
The Merchant hones in on simple rectilinear building facades showcasing rusticated brick, troweled and scored stucco, lapped siding, and horizontal clapboards paired with bracketed cornices and corbels. Vertical collected window bays outlined with clear proportions, and arched windows and doorways highlight the building’s distinction between a clear base, middle and top – often seen on Charleston’s historic streets. A blend of elevated and street-level entrances emphasizes a mix of Charleston’s architectural features, with thoughtful detail around human-scaled entrances, such as iconic columns and projected porticos. The residential carriage houses mimic the diverse palette of the 18th century carriage houses, with wood shuttered carriage doors, wrought-iron metal gates, tiered projected balconies, and open-air stairwells.
The Porter – 577 Meeting St.
The Porter’s initial site constraints made for a unique design concept. Situated between two existing buildings that the initial site constraints for The Porter’s project were instrumental in shaping the design concept. The site presented a unique challenge, situated between two existing buildings that were to undergo an upfit. To optimize the use of available space, the site plan was designed to disperse residential amenities across two distinct one-story buildings located at the frontal exterior of the main 7-story residential building. These two, one-story buildings are connected by outdoor plazas, providing a seamless flow between the different spaces while also enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the design.
287 Huger Street
287 Huger Street is located at the intersection of a major highway bypass, which serves as a welcoming gateway for commuters entering the Charleston city limits from the iconic Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
The building’s exterior design is intended to create a dynamic visual impact that evokes a sense of “color in motion.” This effect is achieved through the use of a warm accent color palette that transitions gradually from pops of yellows to reds, visible in the recessed residential balconies. This color shift contrasts beautifully with the grey metal paneling and red-brown brick, creating a striking visual interplay on the building’s facade. The protruding and shifting balconies, as well as sharp black metal window detailing, add to the building’s geometric appeal.
On the right side of the building’s main entryway, a visually inviting plaza awaits visitors, adjacent to the Palmetto Brewing site. The plaza’s design features stained wood paneling and enticing landscaping that beckons visitors to explore and engage with the space.
Meeting Street Lofts – 601 Meeting St.
Meeting Street Lofts is designed with a classic Charleston style, with a brick veneer exterior that lends a sense of solidity and permanence, and stucco cornices adds an elegant touch, drawing the eye upward creating a sense of refined sophistication.
On the ground floor, the development features a row of retail spaces with storefront windows. These windows are large and inviting, with plenty of natural light pouring in to showcase the retail offerings. The storefronts themselves are designed with a sleek and modern aesthetic, adding a contemporary touch to the building’s classic charm.