In complete order: social control and architectural organization in the Charleston back lot

Haney, Gina, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Wells, Camille, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Bluestone, Daniel, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Wilson, Richard, Ar-Arch History Dept, University of Virginia
Lounsbury, Carl, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

Between the end of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, white slaveowners living in Charleston, South Carolina organized the spaces immediately behind the main dwelling in response to changing political, religious, and social values. During this time Charlestonians constructed ell additions that connected the principal house to back buildings. This urban landscape stood in contrast to the eighteenth-century back lot where back buildings were separate and distinct from the main house.

This thesis examines how and why Charlestonians chose to shape the urban back lot in terms of the rear ell during the antebellum period, particularly between 1820 and 1850. By constructing additions, often in the form of pantries and storerooms, city dwellers expressed the social relations that existed between members of white and black households. On one hand, these interactions were considered reciprocal, even familial. One the other hand, they represented an hierarchical community based on a rigid sense of social order.

Time, like space, was an important factor in mitigating the prevailing social order. Whether time was defined according to a clock or watch or in terms of natural sequences of the day and night, morning and evening, temporal landscapes in the city affected the way in which areas immediately behind the main dwelling were perceived and used by members of both white and black households.

MARH (Master of Architectural History)
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