This ultra-modern residence in the heart of historic Charleston may surprise those who think of the Holy City as resistant to contemporary architecture. Dubbed “Sky Residence,” the condominium belongs to Rich Yessian, a partner in the digital marketing firm, Blue Ion. Yessian bought the second story of the Apple Store, which occupies the ground floor, along with its air rights (the empty space above the building). Both businesses, which depend on twenty-first century advancements, occupy a building that has graced the city since before the Civil War; a Sanborn map indicates that the warehouse was built around 1858.
When local preservation groups approved of the project, planning began for the steel and fiberglass home. The residence is built on top of the second floor of the warehouse where the Blue Ion offices are located. Construction on the condominium began at the end of 2013 and was completed in about a year. Charleston contractor Urban Renewal worked alongside Charleston architect Kevan Hoertdoefer and landscaper Charleston Plantworks to create the unique space that requires passers-by to glance towards the sky in order to view it. The rooftop condo either attracts attention from King Street shoppers or goes unnoticed by those who amble through downtown, focused on window displays or their phones. For those lucky enough to look up, Sky Residence is an unexpected visual treat among the refurbished warehouse buildings that have lined the district for decades, even centuries.
Features of this state-of-the-art condominium include floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed steel beams, an outdoor living and dining space, a green roof of vegetation, and a terrace garden. One of the structure’s more alluring features is the louvered fiberglass exterior, allowing the occupants to adjust the louvers according to preference for light and privacy. Sky Residence received the city’s Design Excellence Award in 2015.