Chaffin Residence

Chaffin Residence


Spring Island, South Carolina

2004 Merit Award, South Carolina American Institute of Architects 

Coastal Living, Premiere Issue, May/June 1997
Southern Living, 1996


On a coastal sea island, the heavily wooded site sits along a sandy bluff adjacent to a tidal river. Dubbed a “river camp” by the owners, the residence was to serve as a family compound where three generations could gather to enjoy each other and their surroundings. For an active family of diverse interests, the compound required an independent guest house, a large art studio atop a carport, and a primary residence with a tower/observation room/studio to survey distant views up and down the river. A sense of internal connectedness to the land and river were important.

A place for living beside the river is traced on the forest floor by means of a rectangular trellis. Transparent and covered by vines, the trellis becomes an armature, or organizing principal of the compound. The buildings plug into this armature, where, at points of contact with the main house, the trellis is transformed into a glassed gallery – the principal internal circulation of the house. Walking through this gallery, however, one finds himself connected, still, to the garden, piazza, and forest.