Local viewers of this week’s ‘Sunday Morning’ probably woke up surprised to see host Charles Osgood coming to their TVs from the Lowcountry yesterday morning, but the live oak landscape wasn’t the only familiar face in the episode.
Osgood presented the morning newsmagazine program’s annual ‘Design Issue’ from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Auldbrass, described as a ‘modern plantation’ built in Yemassee, a 90 minute drive South of Charleston. Segments in this week’s program included an examination of Auldbrass, a primer on the challenges of the present-day preservation movement comparing approaches in Charleston and Savannah, and a look at the vernacular craft of sweetgrass basket weaving.
•In correspondent Lee Cowan’s talk with Mayor Joe Riley, the standard bearer for local preservation for a generation, the 40-year mayor describes the underpinnings of what he sees as the mission of the modern movement.
“An historic city should be a living place, because if you don’t have that, then it’s a ‘former… something.'”
Charleston and Savannah face many of the same challenges when it comes to proposed contemporary additions to the historic cities. Though in Savannah, landmark modernist projects have been seen through to completion. One notable example is a new arts center for Savannah College of Art and Design.
•The episode was a rare look at the ‘modern plantation’ estate in Beaufort County called Auldbrass, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. Owned by Hollywood producer Joel Silver, the public only gets access to the property once a year via $110 per person tours hosted by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.
• The third Lowcountry segment brought national viewers an introduction to the history of sweetgrass basket weavers, a painstaking craft started locally by coastal plantation slaves. The baskets created over hours of work by weavers today can sell for hundreds of dollars at roadside stands and downtown markets.