Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Carter Hudgins

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste

Committee Member

Craig Bennett

Abstract

Applauded as the United States’ first city to create a historic preservation ordinance, Charleston, South Carolina boasts a strong tradition in architectural protection. Presiding over this process of design review and its connected provisions, the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) evaluates any new construction, additions, and changes to any property visible in the public-right-of-way that falls within the historic district. According to the zoning ordinance, this governing body protects and preserves “the old historic or architecturally worthy structures and quaint neighborhoods which impart a distinct aspect of the city and which serve as visible reminders of the historical and cultural heritage of the city, the state, and the nation.”

Hoping to accommodate the needs of a modernizing city, the BAR’s responsibilities and philosophies have adjusted and evolved. In an effort to define the BAR’s operating strategy and Charleston’s urban development as it stands today, this study concentrated to the Calhoun Street corridor. Calhoun Street acts as a main artery into the city, connecting many of the neighborhoods of the peninsula and serving as a main thoroughfare for pedestrian and automobile travel. Much of the street yielded to new construction in the last few decades, which allows it to serve as a case study of where the city and its BAR jurisdiction stands today. Through this corridor study, a firm explanation of key principles guiding these changes and the city’s historic preservation theory is expressed for leader and layperson alike. Ultimately, it can be concluded that the BAR has had minimal effect on the outcome of the corridors’ designs; and furthermore, tended to focus on secondary architectural features rather than significant overall design alterations.

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