American College of the Building Arts

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MoreSun is proud to employ interns and graduates of the timber framing program at the American College of the Building Arts. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the ACBA is the only four-year liberal arts and sciences college in the US to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science with a specialization in timber framing.

How It Began

In 1989 Hurricane Hugo made landfall just forty miles up the coast from Charleston. Storm surge and rough tides along with wind gusts over a hundred miles per hour and torrential rain caused widespread damage. Many of Charleston’s 200-year-old homes needed restoring, rebuilding and renovating.

Craftsmen experienced in true historic restoration were hard to find, so building artisans from Europe were hired to come to Charleston to work. This sparked the initial vision for a college to teach the classical professions of timber framing, historic masonry, blacksmithing, architectural stone cutting, ornamental plastering and finish carpentry. The school graduated its first class in 2009.

A traditional 4-year college curriculum was created that includes math, history, business, English and communications with an emphasis on the student’s chosen field. The mission of the college is to educate and train “artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world's architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.”

Timber Framing Program

Cleaning mortise joint with chisel
stephen whacking peg in a timber frame

The timber framing program teaches both traditional and contemporary methods. Layout, cutting and raising a timber frame structure, designing with CAD programs, the use of glue lam and hardware, and restoration are all part of the comprehensive curriculum. Under the tutelage of the Professor of Timber Framing, Bruno Sutter, students receive in four years the type of training done in Europe's ten year program.

Bruno was trained in France by Compagnon du Devoir, a collective of artisan guilds that has educated craftsmen in Europe for centuries. Through the association Bruno traveled and worked in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United States. In 2005 he was chosen to help create the ACBA. His philosophy is to "train craftsmen who are able to maintain the heritage of housing."

A low student to faculty ratio and encouragement to work as summer interns in their fields leads to a pre-graduation employment rate of ninety percent for students. MoreSun has benefited by employing ACBA students and graduates with a working knowledge and passion for the craft of timber framing.

Interns

2005 - Moyer Fountain

Moyer, from North Carolina, moved to South Carolina in 1995. He attended the ACBA and received Valedictorian honors as part of the 2009 inaugural class. During his four year timber framing program he interned for MoreSun and two North Carolina timber frame companies. Upon graduation Moyer started Fountain Timberworks and has designed and built timber frame projects in South Carolina, North Carolina and Maryland. Moyer is committed to producing the highest order of craft he can attain.

2011 - Will McSwain

Will studied sustainable building solutions at the Yestermorrow Design / Build School, where he discovered his love for sustainable building and timber framing. He decided to pursue timber framing professionally and studied at the ACBA. There Will enriched his knowledge of traditional building and design and gained proficiency in his craft. After graduating in 2013 Will came back and worked at MoreSun, and then ventured out on his own. Will founded McSwain Design Studios to use his design expertise to help build quality homes rooted in traditional materials and methods. He also teaches drafting at Chapel Hill High School.

2012 - Tripp Johnston

Tripp graduated in 2013 and moved back to his hometown of Rome, Georgia. He pursued custom woodworking and remodeling, working for several different contractors. For the past year Tripp has been framing houses and additions for a local builder.

2015 - Jonathan Swift

Jonathan took advantage of the intern program and has worked at timber frame companies each summer. He worked for MoreSun after his junior year. Jonathan is working for Artis Construction in Charleston, South Carolina.

2015 - Chris Stone

Chris is a Charleston native, who grew up spending most of his time around the water. After graduating high school Chris worked as a boat mechanic for a few years, and then attended Tri County Tech in Clemson for two years. When first attending college Chris had never heard of or seen timber framing. Shortly after his introduction to timber framing Chris knew that was the direction he wanted to go in. Currently a senior at ACBA, Chris will graduate in 2017. He interned at MoreSun the summer after his sophomore year. He finds satisfaction in building such beautiful frames and problem solving on complex frames. Chris isn't sure where he'll end up after graduation, but he knows it will be with a timber frame company where he can expand his experiences.

2016 - Joe Najar

Originally from Nashville, Joe was cooking in restaurants and working on farms when he decided to change his career path. A high school friend attended ACBA and sparked Joe's interest in timber framing. Interning with MoreSun after his freshman year, Joe returned to school with some good hands-on and real world experience.

Will McSwain

Joe Najar

mason bassett timber framer

Mason Bassett

Employees

Will McSwain 2013 - 2014

​Mason Bassett 2016 - 2017

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