Charleston's #1 Attraction
I would argue that King Street is downtown Charleston's #1 attraction. This main north-south artery runs down the center of the peninsula and is considered to be one of the best retail streets in America. King Street is also home to dozens of amazing restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, historic homes and of course: awesome architecture.
There is great architecture throughout Charleston, but I would argue that the King Street spine is the strongest urban stretch with architecture that is both high in quality and diverse.
Great urban buildings are about 'tops and bottoms.' The bottom is important because that is the part of the building that is most connected to the pedestrians at street level. I have written and photographed the Storefronts of King Street in two other posts:
But what about the tops of these King Street buildings? The top of a building has the important practical function of serving as the roof and keeping the rain out. But there is also an important aesthetic function. The top of a building is highly visible and should exhibit a certain level of importance. The top is where the building meets the sky and has the potential to influence a city's skyline. The top of the building is an opportunity for embellishment and to have a little fun.
One of the common architectural elements found at the top of a building is a cornice. A cornice is a horizontal banding element that typically projects from the surface of the building. Crown molding is the interior equivalent of an exterior cornice.
The cornices on King Street are a fun bunch. As you will see in the collection of photos below there is a lot of variation. That variation is what makes King Street shine.
For this first volume of King Street cornices I have photographed some of my favorite buildings on the West Side of King Street. I photographed them mid-morning when the sun was just right.
For volume 2, I will share my favorite cornices on the East Side of King Street.
Without further adieu.....
Cornices of King Street: Volume 1
Well there you have it!
Cornices, cornices and more cornices.
I hope you have found this post interesting. One of the purposes for Buildings Are Cool is to serve as a warehouse for my travels and architectural observations. By creating an album of cornices, or storefronts or churches I have a handy resource for inspiration.
Over the last few years I have really embraced this idea of being a local architect and I feel a tremendous responsibility to know the architecture of Charleston. I feel lucky to live in a place of both natural and man-made beauty.
There is inspiration around every corner. I just need to keep my eyes open.