Restoring the Former 1893 Columbia Mills Building

Our firm restored the former 1893 Columbia Mills Building, the first hydro-electric powered cotton mill in the U.S., into one of the largest state museums in the Southeast. Home to a number of state agencies, Stevens & Wilkinson worked with the client to develop a new identity for the building. Our design team used a contrasting space frame to accentuate the entry by providing cover as a porte cochere, while three floors of brick arches were removed to create a new “front door.”

Special Engineering Considerations

Special engineering considerations, especially to the building’s structure, were also incorporated into the design, while mechanical, lighting, acoustical, and sprinkler systems were distributed via a hand-in-glove finger concept that allowed the columns, beams and decking to remain visible throughout the building. Due to constraints placed on the developers, our design team was asked to provide all design and construction documents – 246 sheets in total – in less than 90 days. 

The South Carolina State Museum included the historic renovation and adaptive-reuse of the Columbia region’s former 1893 Columbia Mills Building.

ClientSouth Carolina General Services LocationColumbia, South Carolina Project Size350,000 square feet