The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch



The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) has an important role to play in the preservation of the Historic District. It reviews all plans for construction and renovation of properties in the district to ensure they are compatible with existing structures. That is not to say that all buildings must look historic. But buildings must conform in terms of scale, mass and height. Many citizens think that the BAR must have looked the other way when it approved some designs. The BAR generally meets on a Wednesday at 4.45 pm, twice a month. The members of the BAR are appointed by the Mayor.

December 15, 2011

BAR Meeting, December 15
BAR approves College Dormitory development off King Street
We think the location is good, but the scale overwhelming

Warwick Jones

We were surprised and disappointed at the decision of the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) to give conceptual approval of a plan to construct a dormitory for the College of Charleston. The dormitory is to house 400 students and would be located on lots behind King Street that presently are used for parking. Although we had no issue with the location, the proposed structure was far too large for the site in our view. It is too visible even though it is behind King Street shops, and the proposed height is a long blot on the City’s skyline.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2007

Board of Architectural Review, May 30
Board rejects preservationists' view that proposed hotel on Marion Square is too large
Developer told to use better quality materials
Warwick Jones

A decision by the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) on the proposed hotel facing Marion Square and abutting the old Citadel building was deferred. The developer was told to reconsider some aspects of the design and to consider the use of better quality materials for the exterior. However the Board agreed that there was no issue over the “mass and height” of the proposed building. This was probably the main contention of the some hundred or so citizens that turned up to protest the new development. See diagram of the proposed stucture.


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February 28, 2007

City Council, January 27
Council member seeks wider discussion over BAR
Fort Pemberton rezoning approved
Marc Knapp

Two items consumed nearly all of the discussion at last night’s City Council meeting, The items were creation of “alternate” membership for the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) and the approval of a rezoning of the 7.4 acres that surround Fort Pemberton on James Island. Both were approved, but the discussion on BAR members stretched beyond the specific agenda item.

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November 07, 2006

Preservation Forum
We hope it really will herald change
Warwick Jones

Last night, the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) held a forum on preservation in Charleston. It was designed to herald the intention of the City to look again at its preservation ordinances and to introduce the consultants retained to advise it. And if the consultant does what it says it plans to do, and the City listens, those of us who despair about the preservation of historic Charleston will cheer.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 21, 2006

Board of Architectural Review September 20
Board tells C of C to reconsider Science School plans
Council Member Fishburne questions BAR process
Warwick Jones

Last night's meeting was called specially to consider the new Science Building for the College of Charleston. The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) was not impressed and voted for deferral. For us, the meeting raised a number of issues beyond the proposed school, all relating to the BAR itself.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2006

It is supposed to preserve the historic harmony of the City's architecture
And this is what the BAR approved!
Warwick Jones

A picture is worth a thousand words. Actually, there are four pictures, more than enough in our view to raise questions as to the judgment of the Board of Architectural Review (BAR). The pictures are of the condominium development on George St, in the historic area of Charleston. The development was approved by the BAR in 2004, despite concerns voiced by preservation groups and others about the "mass"

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Clemson School of Architecture
The public speaks loud and clear
What is the City doing?
Warwick Jones

The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) may have done Charleston a favor. Of course it didn't mean to. There was no doubt as to its collective view about the proposed Clemson Architectural School. It was in favor. But its indifference to the views of the public, expressed at the BAR meeting, in the press and elsewhere, and the revelations of the City's actions to secure approval for the proposed building, have stimulated public outrage to a level unprecedented in recent times. No it is not just the offending Clemson building, it is the whole "process". There are ordinances that have been defined to preserve the historic fabric of the City. Why are they not being enforced? Why are they being undermined? There are bodies whose purpose is to encourage preservation and challenge the forces that threaten the historic integrity of the City. Where are they? The Clemson issue may pass, but the broader issue most likely will remain and with it a challenge to the City to mend its ways.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

Clemson School of Architecture
Battle to go to Planning Commission?
Issue unites neighborhood associations
Warwick Jones, Editor

The first battle was fought last night. Clemson School of Architecture, its students, the City and some other architects sang the praises of the proposed building on George Street. The rest of the world booed. Amongst the critics were Save the City, the Preservation Society, Historic Charleston Foundation, the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association (HANA) and representatives of some half dozen other neighborhood societies on the Peninsula. As the opponents have been saying for some time, the proposed school building is inappropriate for the site, out of character and too large. It would be better placed somewhere else such as Ansonborough Field or North Charleston where Clemson has recently acquired some 80 acres.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:50 PM

February 10, 2005

BAR Meeting February 9
A hard decision
Warwick Jones, Editor

Board Member Logan described it as possibly the hardest decision he had to make in the years he has served on the board. At issue was the after-the-fact approval for a new HVAC unit and containing fence. This was hardly an issue that affected more than a handful of Charleston residents, but to them and understandably, the issue was important.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2005

BAR Meeting - January 12
College of Charleston has its day
Warwick Jones, Editor

Basketball Arena on track for construction
Plans to construct a new College arena took another step forward at the BAR meeting on Wednesday evening. Conceptual approval has already been given by the BAR. Last night the College of Charleston was seeking "preliminary approval" for construction. It received it with modest praise and with some requests for modifications.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:56 PM

December 21, 2004

BAR Meeting December 20
Preserving the past but at what cost?
Warwick Jones, Editor

It was the familiar old story at the BAR meeting last night - preserving the past but at what cost? On one side there is the developer, on the other the Historic Charleston Foundation, The Preservation Society and generally the neighborhood associations. The BAR, the City and the public can be anywhere in between, though more often than not, the City is skewed more to development. The items on last night's agenda were not overly important in themselves but served to remind us of one of the major dividing issues for citizens.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:26 AM

August 26, 2004

BAR Meeting August 25
Faint praise is no praise at all
Family Y condominium conceptual design decision deferred
Patricia Jones who covers the B.A.R

The conceptual design decision for the condominiums being considered for the Family Y site has been deferred by the B.A.R. The developer is proposing 71 units for the two buildings that would stretch along the 1-acre site from George St. to Society St. The five story structures would contain the necessary parking spaces on the ground floor with the condominiums occupying the remaining floors.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

BAR Meeting July 28

New basketball arena looks good

Warwick Jones, Editor
Residents got their first glimpse of what the new basketball arena at the College of Charleston might look like. And it looked pretty good. Sure, it is not a structure that looks particularly historic, but considering what it is - a large utilitarian building - it is not offensive and could blend in better than most expected.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:55 AM

May 19, 2004

Calhoun Street Building is no credit for B.A.R.

The Editors

How does the mayor choose members for the BAR? It can't be because of their ability to perceive architectural merit. Take a look at the new office building on Calhoun Street, just opposite the Galliard Auditorium. There is no set back and it is higher than surrounding building. It is just an undistinguished big box. Oh well, at least it makes the Galliard Auditorium look better.

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:39 PM