Fins Car Wash

Project Details


Fins Car Wash


Charleston, North Carolina


.06 Acres



Fins Car Wash sought an abstract and symbolic solution for this site in the center of James Island rather than traditional Lowcountry architecture. As a result, the following was developed: a simple parti wrapped in a material palette that speaks to place through the abstraction of nature, including the local estuaries, rippled beaches, and coastal woodlands.

The floor plan was largely utilitarian, with a simple parti: a wash bay and an equipment/employee bay. By utilizing expansive glazing, the space now welcomes customers while affording operational views of the site. The exterior was an exercise in abstracting local nature to create an envelope rich in texture and reference. By shifting the two bars of the program in the plan, the team established a hierarchy in the massing of the architecture that is indicative of the program functions. The profiled metal panels cladding the wash bay speak to the materiality of automobiles passing through. Pops of fluorescent green are a playful touch, recalling the greens of the estuary grasses, and the equipment bay was wrapped in a composite wood rain screen system referencing the coastal woodlands and adding warmth to the palette. Material transitions were highlighted throughout the elevation with extra deep steel angles creating exaggerated shadow lines and carrying the green around the building—low-maintenance materials.