“SCAD: The Architecture of a University,” is a stylish new book showcasing the 40 most famous SCAD buildings around the world, published in commemoration of SCAD’s upcoming 40th anniversary.

The book features editorial contributions by Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Galerie magazine and the honorary dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts; SCAD alumnus (B.F.A. historic preservation, interior design 1986) Chuck Chewning and SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. President Wallace handles the brief backstory of SCAD’s humble begins and elaborates on why Savannah was the perfect place for the art school she envisioned.

According to professor Robin Williams, Ph.D., SCAD chair of architectural history, 1970s Savannah had a surplus of vacant historic buildings that were too big to occupy and too pricy to purchase. But “Savannah was lucky,” he said, “given their slow economy there was no need to tear down those old vacant buildings.”

And so, he explained, the longer a building stayed vacant the more affordable it became. “Therefore people like the Poetters, like President Wallace, could acquire buildings such as Poetter hall, the Savannah Volunteer Guard armory and make it the home of the college.” He further argues that where as in other cities people would tear down the purchased old buildings, the Poetters’ had the vision of “well let’s repurpose.”

Williams describe how SCAD has treated its historic buildings as adaptive reuse; “[we]find a new purpose for the building,” he said. As President Wallace says in the book, “SCAD buildings are not merely preserved in amber, calcified in the past, but rather have become living laboratories of art and design.”

Williams cites that adaptive ability, of both SCAD and Savannah, as a cornerstone of SCAD’s success. “As the needs of the college changed, they have found other building that would serve the needs…which has been a fundamental part of the college’s success,” he said.

Of course, after almost 40 years, SCAD has expanded worldwide. With more than 100 buildings across 3 different countries, SCAD has been awarded and honored for its preservation legacy and conservation efforts.

Overall, “SCAD: The Architecture of a University” presents this evolution and the progressive impact of SCAD throughout time. The 360-page hardcover book is more like a photo album with 200 photos and a brief descriptions of each building’s architectural character, alongside a timeline of SCAD over the years.

Written by Lucia Artigas.