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Historic Preservation Grad Students Win Prestigious Competition

Friday, September 16, 2011

Graduate students in the historic preservation program received first and second prizes in the Charles E. Peterson Prize competition for architectural documentation drawings.

 The drawings for Christ Church, an 18th-century Episcopal church in Mount Pleasant, won first prize. The 15 members of the graduate program in historic preservation, class of 2012, began these drawings as part of an assignment during their first semesters of study. Working under the direction of professor Ashley Wilson and teaching assistants Ryan Pierce and Lora Cunningham, the drawings capture the plain lines of an ecclesiastical building that continues to serve an active congregation. The program is a collaboration between Clemson and the College of Charleston.

Grace Washam’s drawings of the Burt-Stark House in Abbeville, the subject of her master’s thesis, won second place in the Peterson Prize competition. Remembered for its association with Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the last days of the Confederate government, the Burt-Stark House is an exuberant and complicated Italianate-style house that was home to several generations of locally prominent families. Washam’s thesis, an exploration of the house, its history and its owners, included — along with her prize-winning drawings — documentation of the paint history of architectural elements, a research step essential to understanding how succeeding generations of owners altered interior spaces to fit changing fashion. Washam is the only individual prizewinner in the Peterson Prize competition for 2011.

The annual awards, co-sponsored by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the National Park Service, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the American Institute of Architects, recognize the best set of measured drawings prepared to Historic American Buildings Survey standards and donated to HABS by students.

Measured drawing completed to Historic American Buildings Survey specification by graduate students enrolled in the Clemson University/College of Charleston graduate program in historic preservation have won Peterson Prizes every year since 2007. This is the first year that Master of Science in Historic Preservation student drawings have won both first and second prizes.