The SCAD Museum of Art was recently honored with an Excellence in Preservation Award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation at the organization’s 36th annual Preservation Awards.
The Excellence in Preservation Award is a new honor that recognizes projects that go to great lengths to preserve and interpret remaining historic materials. SCAD is one of the first recipients of this prestigious award.
According to the trust, the museum is a magnificent juxtaposition of the old and new and a fitting standard-bearer for a progressive institution.
“This is just the latest example of SCAD’s dedication and commitment to historic preservation on campus,” Mark C. McDonald, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Trust, said.
University officials said the landmark rehabilitation project, the largest in SCAD history, advances the university's award-winning legacy of adaptive reuse and urban revitalization.
The finished museum site includes the former headquarters of the Central of Georgia Railroad, as well as the masonry ruins of a freight warehouse, both constructed in the mid-19th century. This National Historic Landmark is the only surviving antebellum railroad complex in the country.
The ruins were integrated within a contemporary concrete structure, preserving and highlighting the historic materials as a fundamental part of the new architecture. SCAD architects and designers analyzed and reproduced key original components, down to the chemical compounds of the 19th-century mortar, and salvaged and reused such historic materials as heart pine timbers and fallen Savannah Gray brick.
The SCAD Museum of Art project team designers, under the leadership of SCAD President Paula Wallace and Senior Vice President Glenn Wallace, included Sottile & Sottile, Lord Aeck & Sargent, Dawson Architects, SCAD Design Group, and SCAD Executive Director for Design and New Construction Martin Smith.
“We sought to preserve the poetic beauty of the historic ruin while developing a contemporary architectural language rooted in simplicity and clarity. In this way, the project illuminates both old and new, the past and the future,” said Christian Sottile, AIA, design architect for the museum, principal for Sottile and Sottile, and dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts.
SCAD is recognized as an international leader in conserving and adaptively reusing existing buildings and historic structures, many of which provide the university with facilities that serve as living laboratories for the study of art, architecture and design. SCAD has rehabilitated more than 100 buildings in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong into state-of-the-art facilities.
The university has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Institute of Architects and the International Downtown Association, among others, for its excellence in design and historic conservation.
For more than 35 years, the Georgia Trust has recognized preservation projects and individuals in the state who have made significant contributions to the field of historic preservation. Awards are presented based on the person or project’s contributions to the community and state and on compliance to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.