Glenn Keyes Architects offers a full range of architectural services specializing in historic preservation and the adaptive use of historic structures. The firm offers consulting and architectural services for complete analysis of existing structures, historic structure reports, materials conservation, analysis and specifications, master planning and feasibility studies. Projects range from period restorations of historic house museums to the adaptive use of historic houses for low income housing to the restoration of historic churches and courthouses. Services include consultation on the Investment Tax Credits for the rehabilitation of historic structures and the pursuit of grant funding. In addition, the firm's services include the design and preparation of contract documents for the rehabilitation of historic buildings and the construction of compatible additions. Glenn Keyes Architects provides careful attention to the design of new buildings in historic settings blending the new structures into the context of the site and designing buildings which complement the immediate environment.
Founded in 1986, Glenn Keyes Architects is widely regarded as Charleston's premier architectural firm specializing in work on historic structures. Whether it be on homes, commercial buildings, places of worship or museums, Glenn Keyes Architects' meticulous and heralded work on treasured buildings illustrates the highest standards and advances the practice of preservation and conservation of architecture.
With a portfolio spanning nearly 30 years including residential, commercial and institutional assignments, the firm practices in an architectural landscape filled with nationally significant structures in a city that has always been at the forefront of historic preservation. The devastation of Charleston, SC by Category 4 Hurricane Hugo in 1989 saw Keyes playing a key role in leading Charleston’s preservation effort to save this National Historic Landmark District (the largest in the US). Keyes persuaded clients to resist the temptation to repair structures as quickly as possible and insisted that historic buildings be repaired in accordance with the highest preservation standards by using the finest materials, techniques and craftspeople. Through Keyes' work with the Charleston Museum on its three landmark museum houses, he set the “standard of care” in preserving and protecting Charleston's historic architecture during the frenzied post-hurricane construction. Working with the Historic Charleston Foundation and the Preservation Society of Charleston, Keyes helped disseminate information, resources and preservation standards to property owners. His effort and education of the public set a precedent for excellence in preservation. Because of this, Charleston was preserved and through continuous efforts is now better prepared to face future disasters.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Keyes applied his post-hurricane experience to New Orleans and the widespread damage in this internationally important city. As part of a preservation team assembled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Keyes served as the architect assessing over 200 Hurricane Katrina-damaged buildings slated for demolition throughout the historic district in New Orleans. As a result, almost 100 buildings were removed from the list and saved for future rehabilitation.
Glenn Keyes, FAIA, Principal
Glenn Keyes uses his career as an architect of over 300 preservation projects to demonstrate to the historic city of Charleston the value not only of individual buildings, but also of city blocks, by transforming them through restoration and sympathetic infill architecture. From landmark residences and plantations to churches, institutional buildings and affordable housing, he continually exemplifies how this process leads to economic and community revitalization. His skilled, deftly subtle preservation techniques combine with the delicate nature of our treasured structures to enhance the built environment for generations to come.
An influential force on the preservation of our historic architectural resources from a local to national level, Keyes served as the Staff Architect at South Carolina's State Historic Preservation Office for three years. This public sector experience gives him the broad perspective of preservation that serves as a strong basis for his practice. Additionally, he has served as member the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Locally, Keyes’ leadership includes the Boards of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the nation’s first community-based preservation organization (two years as president), and the Charleston Museum (the nation’s first museum) with its house museums. He also helps to preserve the historic buildings owned by Historic Charleston Foundation, the nation’s first implementer of a nonprofit Revolving Fund for rehabilitations.
Keyes’ influence extends both locally and globally to the next generation of architects through lectures to students in the College of Charleston's program in Historic Preservation and Clemson University's Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. In addition, Keyes was a mentor to interns of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) as part of an ongoing program of the Historic Charleston Foundation. Those architecture students have gone back to their native countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa equipped to preserve their significant architecture.
In 2013, Keyes was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
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Rueben Solar, AIA, Senior Architect
Rueben Solar began his appreciation of vernacular architecture while growing up amongst the French influences of Southern Louisiana where he admired not only the grand homes along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, but also the dependency structures and local architecture that they nurtured. The South Carolina Lowcountry has commanded the same appreciation and respect for its rich architectural heritage.
Solar views each project as an opportunity to enable these historic structures to continue the journey they began hundreds of years ago. Much attention is given not only to their architectural influences, but also to the unique construction influences that make up their history. It is through the continued preservation and rehabilitation of hundreds of structures throughout Charleston and the surrounding areas that Solar has gained a unique understanding of how these buildings have evolved over time. Each project is approached with an understanding the architectural vocabulary employed in its original design along with influences of its many owners and the craftsmen who have preserved them through today. He strongly feels that only through a respectful understanding of these buildings can you introduce the needs and demands of a new generation of owners.
He has also worked with the Preservation Society of Charleston in helping to promote sensitive preservation through it’s Carolopolis Awards program as well as serving on its Properties and Zoning Committee.
Away from the office, Solar enjoys an active family life including frequent travel back to Louisiana where he savors the unique architectural vernacular of the Southern landscape. Additionally, he appreciates the occasional opportunity to travel to his wife’s family home in the Bekaa Valley (Lebanon) to explore the ruins of the Temple of Bacchus as well as the ancient fishing village of Byblos on the Mediterranean Sea.
Solar has been with Glenn Keyes Architects since 1990.
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Adrienne Jacobsen, Associate
By age 14, Adrienne Jacobsen knew she wanted to be involved in the field of architecture. What she didn’t know was that a decade later her love for history would cause a shift in career from design to preservation.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Clemson University and master’s degree from the Clemson/College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, Jacobsen remained in Charleston, fully appreciating the irony of living in the city that solidified her desire to be an architect in the first place. She joined Glenn Keyes Architects in the fall of 2005 while still in graduate school and transitioned to full time the following spring.
She's active in local preservation and arts organizations, as well as serving as a guest lecturer for both alumni institutions and the American College of the Building Arts. Her historical and architectural knowledge of Charleston benefited the Preservation Society of Charleston’s new Master Preservation Program, for which she taught a section on the architecture of Meeting Street.
Jacobsen travels often and enjoys exploring cities near and far, as well as project job sites. Memorable post-graduate educational experiences include the University of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School in 2008 and 2011. Her love of old stuff is reflected in collections at her desk and home where everything has a history.
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