Cathedral wins HCF award

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist wins Historic Charleston Foundation award. Photo/Stephanie D. Paetsch

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist wins Historic Charleston Foundation award. Photo/Stephanie D. PaetschCHARLESTON—The Historic Charleston Foundation gave the Diocese of Charleston a founder’s award for the renovations and addition of a steeple to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist recently.

The Robert N.S. and Patti Foos Whitelaw Award is presented annually for preservation advocacy and the long-term protection and preservation of important buildings and places. It was presented to the diocese during a ceremony April 20 at First Baptist Church.

The Cathedral was selected because of the ongoing commitment to an ecclesiastical landmark, stewardship with the brownstone restoration, and for the willingness to complete the building with a beautiful new steeple, according to Katharine “Kitty” Robinson, executive director of the foundation.

“The addition of another magnificent spire to the Holy City skyline of Charleston has been universally applauded,” Robinson said in an e-mail to The Miscellany. “Only a month after its installation, it seems to have always been there.”

Glenn Keyes Architects designed the openwork copper steeple to reflect the Gothic proportions from the exterior of the Cathedral.

“The openness of the design also marries traditional design with the functionality necessary to accommodate wind loads on the rest of the building,” Robinson said.

“We looked to the detailing in the Cathedral’s high altar and found the architectural cues giving us the height and transparency that the Cathedral’s steeple should have,” architect Rueben Solar told The Miscellany. “Melding that with the rich Gothic detailing of the Cathedral gave us the steeple we have today.”

Robinson also lauded the painstaking work by the Hightower Construction crew involved in the restoration of the brownstone exterior.

The founder’s award was also given to 93 and 97 Broad St., and the Sword Gate House.

Robinson and W.E. “Sam” Applegate, the foundation’s board president, presented the honor to Msgr. Charles H. Rowland representing the diocese for Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone who was out of town. John Caputo, chairman of the Cathedral’s fundraising committee, represented Father Gregory B. Wilson, who also was unavailable to attend.

“It’s a very prestigious honor,” Caputo said in an interview. “This is thanks for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the entire diocese.”

The Historic Charleston Foundation was created in 1947 to preserve and protect the integrity of Charleston’s architectural, historical and cultural heritage, according to its website.

The foundation engages in advocacy, participation in community planning, educational and volunteer programs, the preservation of properties, research, and technical and financial assistance programs.