I dislike architects because their crimes last longer than their own own lives. They die and leave us with this.
Esperanza Aguirre, mayor of Madrid, Spain
This building is a crime against everything that the aesthetics of old Charleston stands for and a testament to the fact that American architects no longer consider aesthetics in their design.
Furthermore it is a slap in the face at every graduate of the Clemson School of Architecture and the tax payers that fund the school as it is in essence saying that while we have spent millions educating thousands of architectural graduates over the years, none of them are good enough to design something that befits the Charleston cityscape.
This building is too much like the twin carbuncle dorms that the University of South Carolina threw up in the late 1950s only to tear them down after less than 20 years of use because they were so ugly that people got sick of looking at them and living in them.
As one of the few natives of Charleston's historic district of my generation who is still living there after 70 years I feel compelled to speak out on this project. This building is in the same vein as one proposed by Clemson University across the street about 10 years ago --- out of scale for the size of the land it is proposed to occupy and of a design that completely clashes with its surrounding historic district.
The inappropriateness of the design leads this observer to wonder if contemporary architectural schools know anything about aesthetics much less teach it in their curriculum to their students when considering the impact of their ideas. Architecture is somewhat like art --- it is supposed to be pleasing to the beholder if not inspiring as great art is, something that will please its observers whether they look at it once or daily in passing over a period of many years. When the Pompidou Center opened in Paris 25 years ago it was hailed as great design. Now it has become tiring and down right boring and this building will be the same.
Once again we have an architect purposely designing something as outlandish and ill-fitting as possible simply to call attention to himself and his work at the expense of 3 generations of Charlestonians who will have to look at it as they pass by. This is a horrible carbuncle that belongs in North Charleston, LA, or Atlanta but definitely not the historic district of Charleston. Mr. Cloepfil needs to confine his design work to the Left Coast where it will be better received.
Unfortunately we can not count on the city's Board of Architectural Review to reject it, instead each member has embraced it in order to keep their position on the BAR by rubber-stamping the mayor's wishes. Maybe once again Legislator Chip Limehouse will rise to the occasion and threaten Clemson with a reduction in funding in order to drop the design. What in the world is Clemson's thinking? Their architectural graduates are all over this state. Choosing someone from Oregon to do this design must be a slap in the face at them. They are in essences saying that none of their graduates meet their standards whatever they are.
Three generations ago this intersection contained two of the finest buildings in downtown Charleston, the Radcliffe-King Mansion on the northwest corner where the college's gym is and one of the Manigault houses opposite. Both were torn down in the 1930s long before the preservation movement became a force to save them. Now this intersection has little of its former glory and this building will send it into the dump pit of ignominy and keep Meeting St. from ever being considered, as was Broad St., one of the top 10 streets in America.
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