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Building Conservation Associates

Aiken Rhett House

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Year Built: 1817

Owned and operated by Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF), the Aiken-Rhett House is nationally recognized as one of the few remaining examples of an early 19th-century urban townhouse complex in the United States. It survives with its main house as well as associated dependencies on its original building lot in Charleston.

BCA led the creation of a Feasibility Study which made key recommendations for improvements to the site’s stewardship, visitation, and staff capacity, and provided Historic Charleston Foundation with a detailed list of prioritized recommendations and estimated costs associated with implementation of the recommendations. BCA also spearheaded efforts to monitor finishes on plaster and wood throughout the house, one of the recommendations of the Feasibility Study. BCA developed a monitoring program based on high-resolution photography and provided baseline documentation for the monitoring. BCA analyzed the results of the monitoring to try to determine the cause and rate of finish loss, and made recommendations for stabilization and continued monitoring of the finishes that are consistent with the guiding philosophy of the site.