Studio A Reinvents “5 College Way” for College of Charleston


May 22, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) — With architect Whitney Powers’ guidance, a 19th century house at 5 College Way will assume a 21st purpose by the end of this year as it is transformed into offices and seminar space for the College of Charleston’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The building will also house the College’s Writing Workshop under celebrated author and professor Bret Lott.

According to Powers, principal of Studio A, Inc., in Charleston, the challenge with this and any other adaptive reuse project is to make sure 21st century needs do not compromise the house’s historic character.

“We intend to restore many of the building’s historic features and finishes,” she said, while the design and engineering team also installs a high efficiency HVAC system, infrastructure data and communications systems, and new lighting.

The 4,821-square-foot house dates back to 1826, Powers said, when the small, private College of Charleston was forced to raise operating funds by selling off land adjacent to the campus’s historic center, which is now known as the “Cistern.” The College reacquired the house in the late 19th century.

Like the nearly 100 historic buildings on campus, 5 College Way experienced plenty of wear and tear from students and faculty over the years. Good paint jobs and routine repairs have kept it in generally good condition, Powers noted. But her plans call for exposing, repairing, and restoring details that give the house its personality, including the exterior “piazza.”

Working with Studio A on the project are structural engineers 4SE, Inc., and mechanical/electric/plumbing engineers CRG Engineering, Inc.

For more information on Studio A, Inc., visit


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