Richard and Betty Ackerman wanted a small jewel box weekend retreat home with a modern aesthetic, that connected them to their beautiful site on a restored Rice Pond. The rich architectural and cultural heritage of the Rice Culture in pre- civil war Coastal South Carolina was the inspiration for this project.
In her book Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations Suzanne Cameron Linder writes: “They harnessed the moon and turned the marshes into fields of gold. The rice planter of the South Carolina LowCountry who cultivated along Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers in 1860 used the power of the moon and action of the tide to irrigated the fields where they grew Carolina Gold a variety of rice named for the color of its outer hull. The planters considered it the best quality rice in the world, and for more than a century it brought them wealth and power.”
Removing the grains of rice from the hull, thrashing, was originally done with a flail by manually beating the grains off. Later the ebb and flow of the tide was harnessed to power wooden wheels and finally at the height of the rice culture steam power was incorporated. Several the obelisk shaped masonry chimneys still exist. This house sited on an old rice pond utilizes this historic reference to connect the Ackermans to the rich heritage of the region. In addition extensive use of glass and outdoor living spaces encourages involvement with the land.
The floor plan radiates from a large obelisk form chimney that acknowledges historic masonry steam mill chimneys that still exist along the black water rivers of the region. Every inside space is mirrored with a companion outside room of the same function.
The outside living-dining-kitchen space is screened on two sides and allows the prevailing Southwest summer breezes to cool the outdoor spaces. The second floor contains the master bedroom, a roof terrace, and a screened outdo or bedroom with a fireplace and Murphy bed. A screened porch stair connects the first and second floor and the Ackemans to nature every time they move through the house.
The exterior stucco was left after the brown coat, without a color finish applied, which resembles tabby finish native to area. Also the terne coated steel roof , reclaimed heart pine interiors and yellow pine timber trusses are all materials typical in the historic buildings of the region.
This house won the South Carolina American Institute of Architects Robert Mills Honor Award.