Category Community Planning

Projects: James E. Clyburn Research Center at MUSC


The Urban Edge Studio of SW+A recently completed the landscape architectural design for the James E. Clyburn Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

UES worked with Columbia based architects Stevens and Wilkinson and Boston based architects Goody Clancy on the overall design. The James E. Clyburn Research Center is comprised chiefly of the Drug Discovery Building and the Bio-Engineering Building. The site is located near the heart of campus at President and Bee Streets in downtown Charleston and was previously a surface parking lot. The project is slated to be certified as LEED Silver. The project, from a landscape architectural aspect, is comprised of four main areas: the front plaza, the Medicinal Garden, the North Garden and the MUSC Urban Farm.

The large front plaza(http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20111121/PC1602/311219923) addresses the challenge of transitioning from the grade of the street to the required building elevation and accommodating major pedestrian axes while creating an area for sitting, eating lunch, having a conversation with a colleague, or as a respite from the laboratory and the classroom. The landscape addresses many of the sustainability aspects of the project including water quality, reduced irrigation, reduced urban island heat effect, and use of local and recycled materials.

Located to the west of the Drug Discovery Building, between the Basic Sciences Building and the Colbert Library is the MUSC Porcher Medicinal Garden.

This area was previously a loading dock area and has been raised about 3 feet to the grade of the surrounding buildings. (http://waring.library.musc.edu/exhibits/PMG/about.php). The garden is a tribute to Dr. Francis Peyre Porcher, an MUSC alumnus and professor who served as a physician during the Civil War. The garden is planted with more than forty species of plants selected from those cataloged in Dr. Porcher’s Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests (1863). Each plant grouping has an interpretive sign that provides information about its medicinal uses. The plants are located in raised planters of Cor-Ten steel, allowing visitors to have a close up view of each plant.

The North Garden serves as a place holder for future buildings, as called for in the campus master plan. It also provides one of the largest open space areas on the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Several large live oaks, once confined to parking lot islands, were preserved and incorporated into the layout. Sidewalks, benches, and plantings – mostly native species create a comfortable campus landscape that is enjoyed by many on a regular basis.

Located within the North Garden area, just behind the brick wall on Bee Street, is the almost half acre MUSC Urban Farm.

The urban farm was developed with the following Goal Statement: “The MUSC Urban Farm will be a place that cultivates a healthier community by growing crops and social connections while educating and inspiring people with local, nutritious, and delicious food.” UES worked with MUSC staff and Elizabeth Beak of Crop Up (http://www.crop-up.com/) to bring the farm into existence. MUSC conducts “Work and Learn” session where people can learn about eating healthier and growing their own food while taking home some of the food they have harvested. The farm is designed with raised beds, drip irrigation, and mulched pathways. Over 50 varieties of heirloom herbs, fruits and vegetables are raised year round in the farm area.

According to project manager Wade Gatlin of MUSC,  “this $80 million project has fundamentally raised the bar on design excellence in terms of architecture and landscape architecture for the MUSC campus.”  He also said that he “can happily recommend Urban Edge Studio for their ability to engage clients in thoughtful goal setting and consensus building, for their highly detailed solutions and their overall creative vision.” This project, which lasted over five years from beginning to end, presented many design challenges which the UES design team (Bill Eubanks, Russ Seamon and Haley Weeks) met with creativity, insight, and innovation.

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Governors Park

Governors Park is located on a 40-acre parcel on Daniel Island, just off Interstate 526.  It is a community park owned by the City of Charleston with a program to provide both active and passive recreation opportunities to the public.  The Park will feature a dog park, playground, picnic areas, waterfront trail, two baseball fields, and a nine-acre grand lawn.

New Active Park on Daniel Island

The layout and design of the park is intended to fit into the landscape by minimizing impacts to existing tree canopies and providing homage to Daniel Island’s agricultural history.  The baseball fields are set into the curve of Fairbanks Drive so that existing vegetation will provide a buffer for neighboring residents.  To further reduce impacts to these residents the fields will incorporate high end lighting designed to minimize glare and eliminate spillover of excess light.  A concession / scoring facility is located between the two fields that will offer an agrarian appearance along the edge of the grand lawn.  The grand lawn will accommodate four full-size soccer fields as well as provide open space for public events and festivals.  The pedestrian trails will be field located to minimize impacts to the landscape while providing exemplary views of the Wando River.  A 10-foot wide boardwalk will cross the marsh to connect to the existing Daniel Island waterfront trail to the south of the interstate.

Construction of the park is currently underway and if you look down while driving along I-526 you will notice the grand lawn by the distinct white shade of its athletic field mix.  Construction of Governors Park is projected to be complete in early September of 2011.


SW+A’s Sanders and Anderson’s Complete the Street Committee to hold public meeting

Throughout the country, public awareness of the benefits of biking and walking/running for recreation, fitness, stress relief, and as an alternative form of transportation has been increasing exponentially. As the movement towards healthier lifestyles gains momentum, residents are coming together to plan and build safer networks of bike lanes and walking trails. According to the League of American Bicyclists, South Carolina currently ranks 33 out of 50 for bicycle friendly communities, a ranking that communities like Anderson are working to change.

A group of volunteers came together to form Anderson’s Complete Streets committee, which includes long time SW+A Greenville staffer and biking enthusiast, Blake Sanders, to address the need for bike and pedestrian paths in the city and to plan for where those paths should be developed. On Tuesday evening, March 22, 2011, the group will host a public meeting to discuss the issue will be held at the Anderson Recreation Center.

Local newspaper the Anderson Independent Mail has published an informative article about Tuesday’s meeting and the Complete Streets committee.