Gaines Group Architects

2. Charleston South Carolina #105architecturalinspiration

Charleston is the oldest and second largest city in the State of South Carolina. The city opens to the Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the convergence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Founded in 1670 by King Charles II it was a major port and economic hub for the south.

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Charleston South Carolina is my favorite architectural city. Every street, building, and garden seems to has as story. From the gardens and gates to churches and single houses, from classic Georgia, Federal, Adamesque, Greek Revival, Italianate, to Victorian – this town has it all.


The most famous buildings are located in Charleston’s lower peninsular, south of Broad street. Rainbow Row is a series of vibrant Georgian townhouses featuring a variety of exterior materials. The Old Slave Mart was constructed in 1859 and is believed to be the last extant slave auction gallery in South Carolina. The narrow single-house on America Street is in the first area I studied in Charleston. In 1991, artist David Hammons created a single wide house just barely as big as the door in the end. This artist installation features a quote on the side challenging the stereotypes of the neighborhood and tells a story through materials reused from renovated homes on the street.


I have walked just about every street on the peninsula (probably every street at least twice). Along the way, you discover wonderful details such as rope moulding, hurricane bolts, and fire plaques. The iron work though done by Phillip Simmons is by far my favorite – especially since I got to meet him and even craft a plant hanger with one of his apprentices (as you can tell by the hair still on my head, this was many years ago). The architecture through all of Charleston tells the story of fire, war, hurricanes, slavery, wealth, and poverty. These layers of historical architectural projects makes this one of my favorite architectural places that inspires.

Charleston South Carolina Iron Work

#105architecturalinspirations is a collection of architectural details, buildings, and spaces that inspire me. I am taking on the challenge of finding two projects to spotlight each week in 2015. Hopefully I will be able to keep up and this process of discovery will push me to create better design solutions for my clients as I research and learn more about those projects I enjoy most. I challenge you to add your comments below about this project and to post your own inspirations for all to enjoy. 

Full List of previous #105architecturalinspiration posts

1. Jefferson’s Academical Village

From my good friend Robert Connelly: “Love Charleston. Dorothy and I were there for New Years. We were in Savannah too. That’s really nice down by the River.”

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