Launch Slideshow

low-country screens, charleston, s.c.

low-country screens, charleston, s.c.

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    Courtesy Frank Harmon Architect

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    Christian Karkow

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    Christian Karkow

    The screens sit about 12 feet out from the house’s glass walls. Pushing them away from the home adds visual depth to open living spaces while creating a shady terrace overlooking Shim Creek.

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    Christian Karkow

frank harmon architect, raleigh, n.c.

Having lived through Hurricane Hugo, this Charleston, S.C., homeowner wanted to make sure his new house could survive anything future hurricanes could throw at it. Traditional wood shutters didn't fit the bill physically or aesthetically, so Frank Harmon, FAIA, called in his favorite metalsmith, Christian Karkow, to help create a “21st century response to a 500-year-old low-country problem.” The result: 10 pivoting metal screens that protect the house from flying debris and scorching heat while maintaining views and inviting only gentle cool “breezes.”

The screen infill material is an off-the-shelf industrial grating found in the McNichols catalog. The custom framing was bolted together in pieces so the 800-pound sections could be assembled on site. Karkow counterbalanced the screens so precisely that a child can open or close them with ease. Custom locks keep the shutters stationary in either horizontal or vertical position—even in hurricane-force winds.

The jury lauded Harmon's “reinterpretation of the ubiquitous aesthetic of shutters.” Harmon, in turn, praises his metalsmith for collaborating on a solution that's economical, functional, and cool—in every sense of the word.

principal in charge / project architect: Frank Harmon, FAIA, Frank Harmon Architect
metal fabricator: Christian Karkow, Antfarm Studios, Raleigh
photography: Christian Karkow