Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Image from Leon Krier, Architecture Choice or Fate, Windsor, Birks, UK: Andreas Papadakis Publisher, 1998. P30.
Great places, cities and towns are composed of many different pieces. These pieces can be divided into two main parts; the Res Publica (the Public Realm) and the Res Privata (the Private Realm). One without the other is a failed place, but with both, a place may become great. Those parts, combined harmoniously create Civitas or the Complete City.
The Res Publica is the realm which we all share together. It is much of what we draw our collective identify from. This public realm is composed of our streets, parks, squares and civic buildings. These items are the backbone of our community, our collective institutions. The streets need to be beautiful and enjoyable to be in, not just singular transport tubes. The parks, squares and other open spaces should provide a great variety of spaces for people to enjoy and socialize in. The civic buildings need to be the monuments that showcase the best of our city; they should be prominent and beautiful with a mass, scale and proportion proper for a landmark. Examples of these include churches (of which Beaufort is so blessed with), higher learning campuses (USCB Downtown buildings), schools (Port Royal Elementary), Libraries (Downtown building), Hospitals, and Government Buildings (New City Hall). Institutions bear the burden to provide these well-executed buildings and spaces as a matter of duty.
Investment into the Res Publica is the duty of the City, the business and the individual. Cities can and should provide value building, economic growth and preservation of land values with Public Realm investment. Business and individuals can and should also contribute. Their contribution can be simple things such as beautiful fences and gates, porches or porticos. Investment here is the greatest wealth generation tool in human history, more than any industry.
Res Privata is the realm of the individual private buildings. If the Res Publica is the bones, the Res Privata is the meat or muscle. These are simple buildings which we use on a daily basis and which form the bulk of our built environment. The typical house, commercial , industrial and agricultural buildings all fall within this category. These buildings should be economical to build and durable; they should reflect their region and collectively add to a City’s true nature and sense of place. Pattern, proportion and rhythm are the hallmarks of the Res Privata. Beaufort is blessed with fantastic fabric buildings; much of the historic core is of this type.
A city or place with both a well-executed Res Publica and Res Privata can become a Civitas, a Complete City. This means that these two realms are skillfully woven together and work in tandem. A great City cannot have a “zone” of one or the other. Each level of the City or place, down to the block level should have a clear sense of both these realms. Civitas should be our collective unyielding goal.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Beaufort Three Century Project, along with Historic Beaufort Foundation, are hosting an Architecture and Neighborhood Design Expo through the month of October. The 15 entries are on display at the Verdier House Mon-Sat. Check it out! Brown Design submitted two entries, one architectural and one neighborhood Design. Check out our presentation booklet!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The are two main sources for input into Steve Mouzon’s Original Green. Software (humans) and hardware (environment) and the method for their input or transmission is Steve’s “Living Tradition” theory.
Humans are, well, human, we have hopes and fears and we have cultural traditions. Places founded by Englishmen in the 1600’s are different than places founded by Spanish in the 1600’s. Places and buildings also take there cues from the human body in terms of proportion and order. Also, the human body (and animal) placed limits on distances that made sense. Much of Europe is covered with villages a days walk from the next, that’s not an accident. The human body gives us a measuring unit as designers.
The Hardware comes from the environment. It is how we design for climate, a hot humid place or building is designed differently than a building for a cold dry climate. Also, local materials dictate construction technology and methods, unless you want to ship things all over the world. Many cities will share a common color of stone, that’s because it was local based not a style based choice.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The things that make Beaufort and the Lowcounty what they are, are the things that I call “of this place”. These are the things that we all would collectively identify the Lowcounty with, things like a Live Oak tree or a deep comfortable porch or fresh from the river seafood. These things are part of the Beaufort DNA, they are part of all of us and come from our collective character, history, culture, natural and built environment.
Things “of this place” can not really be from any where else and together, they define a place. Beaufort has its DNA of place as does Charleston, Savannah and other great places. Many places, especially places built post World War II, really don’t have a nature or “of this place”. Those poor places are built from generic building blocks and are typically very auto dependant and hard on the natural environment. How many places have you been too that have the same section of streets with the same businesses and you really don’t have a clue if you are in Atlanta, Chicago or Dallas.
Beaufort has a distinctive DNA and has a great “of this place” going on. Much of the growth in the are for the last several decades however has been not of this place. That means that each time we grow (and I believe strongly in growth) we grow away from where we are and where we all want to be. We need to insure that our future growth can raise the bar and insure that our future lies with in site our nature “of this place”.
On September 15th, I will be among several who are hosting national know architect and author Steve Mouzon. Steve is widely accomplished and will be here in Beaufort to speak on his latest book, The Original Green.
The Original Green the book, is composed of four parts; Understanding the problem, What can we do?, How can we do it? And What can I do. Steve’s book does a fantastic job of tackling complex issues and breaking them down to real life solutions. He outlines true sustainability in the form of principals and then unlocks the mysteries of how we can really use those principals to effect real change.
One of the many core principals in the Original Green is growing the right way. Ways that promote a healthy balance of the DNA “of this place” as well as ways which can enhance the DNA of a place. Please join me for a wonder evening with Steve Mouzon, September 15th, 6pm at TCL on Ribaut Rd.
Monday, August 2, 2010
USCB and the Lowcounty Council of Governments is conducting a study on public transit. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/uscbtransitsurvey
We need to begin to link our communities with some form of modern public transit and also continue to re-weave pedestrian oriented infrastructure into our communites. Most of the areas built post -1945 have little infrastructure such as sidewalks to support the simple notion of walking.
While this survey is soley oriented to public transit, please do your part by completing it AND also contact your local leaders to support us in rebuilding Beaufort into a place that has MANY transportation options for us all.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Beaufort, Habersham and Newpoint are all such great examples to use for new development models and sustainable architecture.
It is so surprising that people travel to Beaufort County from all over the world and US to view its development models but much of what they are coming to see is still really illegal to replicate here in this county even after all these years.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This is Savannah's Whitfield Square, one of the last Squares, being laid out in 1851. Sitting astride Habersham Street, this is a more residential scale square with the historic fabric being all two story forms. This view looks East on Wayne St.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
February 3, 2010
We are students from Andrews University interning at Brown Design Studio and Moser Design Group from January through April 2010. One of our biggest projects during the semester her e in Habersham is the work we are doing right here in our own neighborhood. We are working with farmer Pat Gallagher, Brown Design Studio, Moser Design Group, as well as T&D Landholdings to develop an architectural scheme and plans for the local farm here in Habersham. The program for this project is designed to provide many things that typical farms do not including:
1) Provide fresh local produce directly to the community through a shares program;
2) Provide educational opportunities for locals, students, and interns to learn about agriculture and its history in South Carolina;
3) Provide a hands-on experience of the daily workings of a locally sized farm;
4) Become a center for other local farmers to share facilities, equipment, ideas, and techniques.
Our contribution as architects and planners is to design functional buildings that benefit the farm as well as contribute aesthetically and functionally to the community now and in the future. We aim to accomplish this through responsible and effective site planning, and through designing flexible buildings that can provide for a variety of uses that can evolve with the changing and growing needs of the community.
Friday, March 12, 2010
There will be various other structures and small outbuildings which really make the farm function as it should. These include greenhouses, a windmill, and shading/storage structures. In addition, our group is designing a prototype vegetable stand that will be located on Cherokee Farms Road. From this stand Farmer Pat will be able to sell daily to those customers who desire fresh, ripe, locally grown fruit and produce.
This past Wednesday we had a review of this project with farmer Pat Gallagher, Patrick Kelly from T&D Landholding’s and local Habersham architects, Eric Brown and Eric Moser. We had a good discussion regarding the implementation of these designs. As this project moves forward during the next few months you can follow its progress on this blog.