Who We Are

John Palmer

John hails from Portland, Maine, the son of two school teachers who encouraged him from a young age to explore his interest in the history and architecture of the city. After completing his secondary education, John opted to  follow his burgeoning passion for travel and exploration before continuing on to his formal education, a choice that instilled in him a lifelong curiosity for far-off places, and the wonderful things they hold.

John acquired a taste for the South when he attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where he earned his Masters in Architecture, as well as a Certificate in Preservation Studies, working in depth with local institutions to preserve New Orleans’ built history within the city and at numerous plantation houses along historic River Road.  His studies also brought him to the Helsinki University of Technology to study vernacular and modern Scandinavian architecture. These experiences translated into positions at Platt Byard Dovell White, and Cooper, Robertson and Partners, both in New York City – respected firms working to protect New York City and national landmarks. He lived and practiced architecture in New York for nine years. Projects he worked on include the master planning and preservation of the Park Avenue Armory, the New-York Historical Society, the design of the new Museum of Westward Expansion at the St. Louis Arch, the Sand Diego Museum of Art, and the newly unveiled Whitney Museum in New York.  His work also included high-end residential and commercial projects.

Longing for a change of pace and a chance to create on a smaller, more intimate scale, John teamed up with his longtime friend and business partner, John Paul Huguley, and moved back south to Charleston, South Carolina to form Building Art Workshop, LLC.  The pair are dedicated to honoring the craftsmanship of generations past, and promoting the work and creativity of our current and future craftsmen in America.

If you’d like to contact John directly, please email him at john@buildingartworkshop.com.

John Paul Huguley

Born and raised in Alabama, John Paul Huguley first studied at Birmingham-Southern College (B-SC).  At B-SC, a liberal arts college, he completed a Bachelors degree in Mathematics and a minor in Business Administration. John Paul studied Historic Preservation and Structural Engineering at the University of Virginia.  While working on great American “Building Art” like Monticello, Gunston-Hall, and Fallingwater, John Paul’s passion for understanding building technology and the importance of craftsmanship came to drive his career.  John Paul graduated from both the school of Architecture and Engineering at UVA, and began his professional career in Boston at nationally recognoized building technology and engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz and Heger.

With a year of professional training in London, under Britain’s leading restoration firm Alan Baxter and Associates, John Paul returned to the United States to establish a national center for training the next generation of Building Artisans.  With the stage set in Charleston after the devastating Hurricane Hugo, John Paul proposed a national school that would be headquartered in the city.  Over the next decade of fundraising, strategic partnerships, and gaining political support at local, state and national levels, the School of the Building Arts (SoBA) was founded. In 2004, the Department of Education accepted the proposal for the first American College of the Building Arts (ACBA), formerly SoBA.  John Paul remained president until 2005.

In 2005, John Paul created Building Art, LLC, a company dedicated to putting future skilled ACBA students to work in an environment that fosters growth and leadership.  Projects incorporate the fields of blacksmithing, carpentry, timber framing, plastering, stone masonry and stone carving, all areas of focus at ACBA.  His work with craftsmen over the years laid a solid foundation of skilled artisans from which Building Art Workshop, LLC draws upon, as well.

If you’d like to contact John Paul directly, please email him at johnpaul@buildingartworkshop.com.