Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes

General Abstract

1 - Charleston Contradictions: A Case Study of Historic Preservation Theories and Policies

Wednesday, September 26
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: HYATT-Regency

The philosophy, policies, and practices of historic preservation are currently struggling with how to incorporate Modern architecture, as many of these buildings are reaching the threshold to be considered historic. Since one of the movement's original goals was to counteract Modernism, it is ironic that many of the buildings initially opposed by historic preservation are now forcing the profession to consider their designation and preservation. The potential preservation of many of these buildings raises important philosophical and practical contradictions for the profession that require further study and resolution.

This study presents the results of a case study of three Modern buildings in Charleston, South Carolina - the old Charleston County Library building, the Rivers Federal Building, and the Gaillard Auditorium. All three buildings are civic buildings, built in the 1960s, and located very close to one another in what is now the historic district in Charleston and under the purview of the Board of Architectural Review. While only the library building reached the 50-year threshold to be considered historic, the other two buildings will reach it soon and, despite similarities among the buildings, each is receiving a different preservation treatment.

The qualitative study utilized an explanatory case study methodology and analyzed several different sources of evidence in order to triangulate the results between them. Sources of data included archival evidence, minutes from Board of Architectural Review meetings, and most significantly, in-depth interviews with a small number of expert participants. The participants included architects, preservationists, members of the Board of Architectural Review, attorneys and others with knowledge of Charleston's preservation community.

The findings from this research suggest that the potential preservation of Modern architecture presents numerous contradictions for the field of historic preservation and has implications for the field of architecture as well. By dictating that new buildings must express the zeitgeist, both architecture and preservation are creating and supporting an unsustainable cycle of constantly needing to break new ground, rather than relying more on the tried-and-true solutions from the past. Analysis of the cases of the three buildings in the study suggest that the problem is only going to become more acute, as more and more Modern buildings become eligible for historic designation.

Learning Objectives:

David Payne

Teacher of Architecture
Deerfield Academy

David Payne is the Architecture and Visual Design Teacher at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts. He holds master’s degrees in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont and Architecture from the University of Miami and completed his doctoral degree in the Planning, Design, and the Built Environment program at Clemson University. His research interests include the impact of Modern architecture on historic preservation and the role of traditional architecture in the 21st century.


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Lonnie Hovey

Lonnie Hovey, AIA, FAPT is an award-winning architect with over 30 years of experience on preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects across the country for many federal, state, municipal, and city clients. Federal clients include the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Architect of the Capitol, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Navy, Executive Office of the President, and General Services Administration. Projects include banks, churches, courthouses, cultural landscapes, libraries, master plans, monuments, museums, private and federal office buildings, pump houses, and university buildings. He served as the federal preservation officer and Director of Preservation for the Executive Office of the President overseeing projects in the 22 buildings used by the Executive Branch, the biggest project being the modernization of the EEOB.

Lonnie is an Associate and Sr. Preservation Architect with Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP (WRA). Founded in 1915, WRA is headquarted in Baltimore, Maryland, with 19 regional offices. Lonnie works out of WRA's Philadelphia office.

Lonnie is an active APT member having joined in 1988. Service includes national and regional involvement with symposia, training programs, and annual conferences. Service also includes positions on the APT Board of Directors, and the Chapters, Outreach, Student Scholarship, and Training & Education Committees. Inducted into APT's College of Fellows (COF) in 2007, he is currently involved with the APT and COF Archives, the APT Legacy Program, and writes the 'From the Archives' column for Communiqué.


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1 - Charleston Contradictions: A Case Study of Historic Preservation Theories and Policies

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