Charleston, SC

Completion: 2013

Size: Renovation, 20,000 sf; Addition, 64,000 sf

Historic Buist Academy has been part of the fabric of downtown Charleston since its humble beginning in the 1920s. Renovations and seismic improvements were made to the original 1920 portion of the school, and an additional 64,000 square feet of new construction have been designed to programmatically meet current SC Office of School Facilities requirements.

SMHa 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 original building’s exterior improvements include repointing of the brick, removing replacement windows and installing new windows to be more sensitive to the original. The massing of the new portion is sensitive to the original building, giving it 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. The exterior material palette consists of brick, cast stone and glass, paying homage to the 1920s building, yet detailed in a sharp, current manner. Buist Academy is an International Baccalaureate magnet school serving students from Kindergarten through 8th grade.