William Irvin, Architect [1890-1950]
Willis Irvin began [†] designing on his own in the 1920s drafting plans for churches and schools in Georgia and South Carolina. He excelled in designing and remodeling older houses in the South Carolina low country. His reputation was built on designs that displayed the influences of Classicism and also the Mediterranean Revival. In 1929, he won an American Institute of Architects Southern Division award for "the residence of the year" for his Aiken, South Carolina built house for Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick.
The residential architectural resources produced by Irvin during his career as architect for a wealthy clientele along the eastern seaboard constitute some of the best Colonial Revival designs of the first third of the twentieth century. Several of his Georgia and South Carolina buildings are listed in the National Register for architectural significance. In Aiken, South Carolina, he designed four large estates: Idylwood (1923, NR 1984;) Green Boundary and Whitehall (1928), and Pine Knoll (1930).33 For his work on Whitehall, Irvin received the prestigious Gold Medal awarded by the Southern Architectural and Industrial Exposition in 1929. In Augusta, the architect designed two houses in 1931, Banksia and Bonnie Doone Plantation. He further produced drawings for the Bon-Air Vanderbilt Hotel in 1923 and the Partridge Inn in 1929. Two residences by him in Hartsville, South Carolina, the James L. Coker, III house (1931) and the C. K. Dunlap house (1934), were placed in the National Register in 1991.
† Janey K. Seapker and Edward F. Turberg, Architectural Historians, Gabriel's Landing (Old Oak Point), New Hanover County, NC, nomination document, 2007, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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