Charleston Horticulture Institute

Year:Spring 2013

Place: University of Florida

Studio Critic: Mick Richermond

The Institute of Horticulture and Landscape is a project which is specific to place and culture of Charleston, it should be inspired by, and woven into the historic, cultural, and social fabric of the downtown and it could let people understand the city better. 

Based on this idea, I started to understand the site and the its relationship with the urban context in historical and physical viewpoints. the idea of center and periphery has greatly changed over the days. Compare with the monotonous goods exchange function before eighteenth century, the periphery is now occupied by a proliferating leisure activities, for instance, tourist, finding food and beverage and riverside entertainment. According to the hypothesis that the site should accommodate more periphery activities for the public life of Charleston besides the academic programs.

Also, The status quo of the site is a surface parking located on the periphery of the downtown Charleston, it is a node can offer the highest number and quality of connections to the periphery activities. but the historical preservation area gave a number of restrain to this project including the building height and flooding control line. 

Due to the relatively smaller scale of the streets and the traditional urban block, people can rarely experience the linkage and inner forces of the urban structures besides through the street openings along the historical building facade which mostly are alleys and surface parking. I am really interested in what these opening can afford us in a visual context, when people walk or drive along the E Bay street to the site, the very view of the St Philip’s present into our sights. But the mass of the project will block the unique merit of the site for public realm, thus, i came out the idea that to keep a visual connection to the historical building in the project, based on this, the contrast between the past and present will become more relative, “older and newer” will share a permanent interface. 

How to make use these conceptions to generate space. I really interested in the apatial arrangement of Charleston Singlehouse. It puts all the programs into a one room wide, bar like geometry on one side and patios on the other. The layout can fit  Charleston’s environment and let people more engage with the exterior landscape.


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