Restoring History for a New Purpose

Cyberwoven / Columbia, SC

This adaptive use project recaptured the architectural and historical significance of a key building in Columbia, South Carolina’s downtown district.

The building at 1634 Main Street dates back to the 1870s, but its character comes chiefly from a 1937 renovation by J.C. Penney that created a new storefront facade which Penney’s updated in the late 1940s. Subsequent renovations by another tenant in the 1980s converted the building into office space and completely covered the distinguishing storefront. When new owners purchased the building in 2015, they enlisted our help to restore the appearance of this era while creating a modern office space inside. The project involved collaboration with the City of Columbia, State Historic Preservation Office, and Historic Columbia.

Recovering a Historic Storefront

A meticulous study of photographs from the J.C. Penney period allowed us to identify and precisely recreate key details of the storefront including the tilework pattern, second-floor window dimensions, the reflectiveness of the Vitrolite surround, and accurate measurements for the concrete bands and soldier courses. We retained as much of the original construction as possible and were able to feature the facades original brickwork by removing stucco from the 1980s renovation.

Return to Masonry

The back elevation was completely rebuilt out of EIFS stucco during the 1980s renovation. To recover the buildings masonry construction, the stucco was removed and a new foundation had to be added.

Exposing Old Window Openings

Historic pentagonal and rectangular windows, once bricked in, are now restored along the south wall of the building.

Interior Details Reclaimed

Careful interior demolition revealed original wood floors, an elegant tin ceiling, and Penney’s terrazzo floor, which were restored in the renovation.

A New Purpose

1634 Main Street now houses Cyberwoven, a web strategy, design, and development firm. The open office concept recalls the mercantile feel of the once bustling department store while accommodating modern office needs.