International African American Museum

2014–Ongoing | Charleston SC

Client International African American Museum
Architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Associate Architect Moody Nolan
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates

The International African American Museum will be devoted to telling the story of the passage of African peoples from slavery to emancipation. The building is elevated on 18 monumental columns, laid out on two rows on a 48ft square grid. Each column is 6ft in diameter. Elevating the building is required by code due to its location in a flood plain, but it also allows for a generous shaded outdoor space at the ground floor. Above ground, the building includes galleries and public programs at the second floor and an administrative penthouse on top. The building is subjected to relatively high seismic loads, hurricane winds and is located in a high-velocity flood zone. The structural system consists of steel framing combined with cast-in-place concrete shear walls at the cores and cast-in-place concrete columns at the ground floor. The floors consist of slab on metal deck supported on steel framing. The lateral system is a combination of moment frames and shear walls. The soil conditions require that the building be supported on precast, pre-stressed pile foundations extending approximately 90ft into the ground.