Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Committee Member

Dr. Carter L. Hudgins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Katherine Saunders Pemberton

Committee Member

Dr. Brent Fortenberry

Abstract

Recent academic discussions have prompted a reexamination of Charleston, South Carolina's historic architecture. While Charleston is lauded for its impressive inventory of intact historic buildings, little is known about the development and variation within its urban house types, including iconic single house form. Piazzas, traditionally places of sheltered repose, are building elements historically associated with Charleston's single house. Integral to the urban fabric, piazzas have long served as iconic symbols of the city. This thesis presents the results of the first comprehensive survey analysis of Charleston's piazzas, identifying more than 2,000 of them in the neighborhoods south of the Septima Clark Parkway (US Route 17). From its introduction in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the piazza mirrored the growth of the city, reaching the height of its popularity in the middle of the ninteenth century in the decades the preceded and followed the Civil War. A typology developed from the results of the survey indicate a wider variation in this local vernacular expression than scholars have previously discussed.

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