SAVANNAH, GA.–The Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies at the SCAD Museum of Art is the recipient of a 2014 National Preservation Honor Award, a recognition that celebrates the best of preservation annually.
Presented on November 13 at the 2014 Richard H. Driehaus National Preservation Awards in Savannah, Georgia, the National Preservation Honor Awards acknowledge the efforts of individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations whose skill and determination have given new life to their communities through preservation. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks, as well as architects, craftspeople, and developers whose exemplary work restores the richness of the past.
“The vibrant SCAD Museum of Art and Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies continue to enrich and illuminate a previously disinvested district in Savannah, demonstrating the unparalleled power of historic preservation to reenergize a community,” said Christian Sottile, AIA, design architect for the building and dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts. “Additionally, this award recognizes the importance of the Center in bringing a voice to a historically marginalized demographic in the very footprint where this history was played out.”
Breaking ground in 2010, the SCAD MOA, the largest rehabilitation project in SCAD history, advances the university’s award-winning legacy of adaptive reuse and urban revitalization. Re-opened to the public an impressive 18 months later in 2011, SCAD MOA is a contemporary art and design museum conceived and designed expressly to enrich the educational milieu of SCAD students and faculty, and to attract and delight visitors from around the world.
The centerpiece of the SCAD MOA is the Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, the world’s second largest African American art. A generous gift of SCAD Savannah Board of Visitors member Dr. Walter Evansand his wife Linda, the collection includes more than 60 important works of art by renowned African American artists such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert Scott Duncanson, Richard Hunt and Jacob Lawrence
The finished museum site includes the former headquarters of the Central of Georgia Railroad, as well as the masonry ruins of a freight warehouse, both constructed in the mid-19th century. This National Historic Landmark is the only surviving antebellum railroad complex in the country.
The ruins were integrated within a contemporary concrete structure, preserving and highlighting the historic materials as a fundamental part of the new architecture. SCAD architects and designers analyzed and reproduced key original components, down to the chemical compounds of the 19th-century mortar, and salvaged and reused such historic materials as heart pine timbers and fallen Savannah Gray brick.
The SCAD Museum of Art project team designers, under the leadership of SCAD:
- President Paula Wallace
- Glenn Wallace, Senior Vice President
- Christian Sottile, AIA; design architect for the museum, principal for Sottile and Sottile,
and dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts
- Lord Aeck & Sargent
- Dawson Architects
SCAD is recognized as an international leader in conserving and adaptively reusing existing buildings and historic structures, many of which provide the university with facilities that serve as living laboratories for the study of art, architecture and design. SCAD has rehabilitated more than 100 buildings in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong into state-of-the-art facilities.