Williams Terrace Senior Housing

Design Architect: David Baker Architects

Williams Terrace is an affordable senior housing development for the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston. Located in the heart of downtown Charleston near the harbor, the site is located within a high-velocity flood zone. After Hurricane Hugo destroyed all of the existing affordable housing on this city block in 1989, the City masterplanned the redevelopment of this flood-prone area as an urban park, with large open playing fields surrounded by market rate offices and condominiums. A portion of this site was retained for affordable housing, but remained unbuilt. The long-anticipated project includes 55 living units, ground floor parking, a ground level screened porch, and a rooftop community room with an adjacent terrace. All units are ADA accessible.

During the design process, input was actively sought from community groups, neighborhood associations, and preservation organizations. Design was presented for review and approval to the public and Charleston Board of Architectural Review. The concept was developed to create public spaces, with opportunities for interaction between residents and the community-at-large, while addressing Charleston’s rich architectural vernacular.

The design draws from historic precedent with a less literal intent. To reduce the massing to a more comfortable and residential scale, the building is divided into two smaller volumes centered around a courtyard with Charleston-style “piazzas” that provide all circulation for the residents and serve as additional exterior living spaces — critical to senior living. Movable wood and metal screens on the porches and at the windows provide adjustable shade from the sun and will allow for an ever-changing façade. The primary exterior material is limewash-covered brick. The building opened for residents in May of 2017.