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163 Rutledge Medical Office Building

An office building owned by two brothers is transformed into a new office complex to house their respective professional businesses. Situated between a historic residential neighborhood and a large medical complex, the design relates to both settings and meets the needs of neighbors, city officials, and members of the City of Charleston's Board of Architectural Review.

The Background
The clients for this project are brothers, one a developer and the other a doctor. The doctor occupied a building that was quickly becoming too small and outdated for his practice. Our firm was asked to design a new building in the same location that would provide a larger office for the doctor as well as additional office space for his brother.

Constraints and Challenges
This project is situated between a residential neighborhood and a large complex of medical buildings, therefore the design had to relate to both settings and include a sensitivity to pedestrian traffic.

Since the project is new construction, parking played a major role. New parking had to be provided on the site that wouldn't detract from the rhythm of existing buildings along the street. Also, the site is located in historic Charleston and the City Board of Architectural Review (B.A.R.) would have to review and grant design approval.

The Solution
NSA designed the massing of the building to be in proportion with the typical Charleston single-style houses along the street. Even though the building is approximately 13,000 square feet, the massing was stepped back horizontally and vertically along the sides of the property to create the effect of a narrower building. Also, the massing on the side of the office building was syncopated with 4' wide niches at intervals that match the typical width of the other house facades.

The design screened the parking area behind a brick wall with curved concrete benches and screened openings above the benches. Planters were planned between the benches to grow foliage against the screens. The all-glass entry at the front of the building used the interior lobby elevator wall to screen the parking from pedestrian view.

The Result
After meeting and discussing the design with the client, neighbors, and city officials, the members of the City of Charleston's Board of Architectural Review gave the design unanimous approval and the project is currently under construction.

This building's materials consist of masonry, steel, and glass. The brick walls have two story high window bays that replicate a more residential sized window yet overall, provides a scale that befits the office building design. The front of the building makes a bold, contemporary statement by cantilevering over the entry lobby with an all-glass, exposed steel façade. The cantilever offers an open-air entry lobby at the pedestrian level and the all-glass portions above create office lobbies with expansive views of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina campus. On the top floor, the massing has been stepped back and an exterior roof deck wraps around the building, providing an exterior space with unobstructed panoramic views.

163 Rutledge Medical Office Building