In the heart of historic Charleston, the Spaulding Paolozzi Center is a new home for Clemson University’s School of Architecture and the Historic Preservation Program at the College of Charleston. Inspired by the quality, scale and texture of the city’s neighborhoods and building traditions, the design for the Center draws from three primary influences: landscape—intimate gardens and courtyards held by pierced walls and fences; craft—the beautiful scale, material palette and detailing of the historic buildings, as well as deep local traditions of pottery, weaving and textiles; and light—its character, range and the need for protection from the intense sun.
Situated on a prominent commercial street, the 30,000 s.f. Center is composed of stacked, aligned and overlapping garden walls made from perforated concrete. This porous curvilinear structure provides illumination, transparency, and views into and through interior spaces as well as out to the neighboring gardens. The east and west facades are sheathed with turned and bent metal screens to protect interior spaces from direct light while providing visual connection to Meeting Street and the historic Middleton-Pinckney House.
Within, the Center is divided into three vertical bays, which will accommodate the diverse needs of the schools’ approximately 100 students and faculty. On the ground floor, a forum space for academic and public events connects the city to the creative work taking place within. The building also houses open-span studios, an architectural conservation laboratory, faculty offices, classroom spaces, seminar rooms, critique rooms, fabrication labs, and numerous mixed-use and gallery spaces that will serve students, the local design community and the larger public of Charleston.