Beresford Pavilion

Beresford Pavilion

 

Charleston, South Carolina

2005 Merit Award, South Carolina
American Institute of Architects
 

 

The architects sought to create a sense of identity for the new residential community by drawing from the archaeology of the specific site. The site, which was undeveloped land, had been the location of a plantation established early in the settlement of the colony. However, because of extensive clay content in the soil (unsuitable for agriculture), the plantation turned to brick-making for survival, excavating the clay and manufacturing the bricks on-site. Orange-colored brick foundation remnants and trench excavations for the clay are ubiquitous on the property. Simultaneously, there was a desire to provide a casual, unpretentious atmosphere which would encourage a diversity of social activities open to the river vistas, much like primitive yacht clubs of the early sea island river towns.

Connecting a residential community to the adjacent river, the Pavilion serves as a recreational and social center. Its light, wood-framed shed structure emerges from behind eroded brick walls - reminders of a lost plantation and brick-making operation which once stood on this site. The dense, anchoring materiality of these walls - and their state of erosion - emphasizes the geology and the weight of history at this place. The lightness of the contrasting shed, with its straightforward construction, offers, on the other hand, freedom of movement, social informity, passage of daylight and breezes, and a sense of liberation.
 
The central gathering space is covered by a quasi-utilitarian shed roof structure, enclosed on the two river-facing sides only by insect screening. Beyond the screening are open porches overlooking the pool. The expressive chimneys of the fireplaces suggest the ovens of the brick-making kilns. The little brick structure near the boat landing is the Ice House. Its quirkiness befits its reputation as a "place of lies" where the sportsmen spin the tall tales of their fishing expeditions.