Framing the Lowcountry: The Evolution of the Region's Vernacular Tradition

Brent Russell Fortenberry, Clemson University


Timber-framing systems are the foundation of Early Modern vernacular architecture traditions. The fabrication, construction, and finish details of such assemblies are indexes of the character-defining features of building practices and the wider socio-cultural context. The Lowcountry of South Carolina is no exception. From the late seventeenth-century onwards builders from Old World traditions came together to erect unrivalled British edifices in the colonial and Early Republic periods. While other scholars have closely scrutinized and interpreted the framing traditions of the Chesapeake and New England, there has yet to be a consideration of the nature and evolution of the Lowcountry’s framing. Bringing together architectural evidence from fifteen sites in the region, this study explores the emergence and evolution of the Lowcountry frame, ultimately positioning the region’s vernacular landscape within the context of the British Atlantic world.