Historic Buist Academy has been part of the fabric of downtown Charleston, South Carolina, since its humble beginning in the 1920s. Today it has grown into a K8 International Baccalaureate magnet school.
Renovations and seismic improvements were made to the original 1921 portion of the school. Exterior improvements included repointing of the brick, removing replacement windows and installing new windows to be more sensitive to the original.
An additional 64,000 square feet of new construction were designed to programmatically meet current South Carolina Office of School Facilities requirements. Our team collaborated with the City of Charleston planning staff, neighborhood groups and historic preservation organizations to gain each group's perspectives of the priorities and concerns for the project at the urban scale. These parameters were interfaced with Charleston County School District's goals for this milestone project.
The massing of the new portion is sensitive to the original building, giving the historic structure as much breathing room as the small urban site would allow while anchoring the corner of the property with a three-story mass containing the gymnasium and media center. Due to limitations of the small site, it was necessary to locate the gymnasium above the media center. The gym floor is supported by a spring isolated slab which helps control impact noises from filtering below.
The exterior material palette consists of brick, cast stone and glass, paying homage to the 1921 building, yet detailed in a sharp, current manner.