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“Landscape pleases the eye, keeps business dry”, is the title of the article written by Robert Behre on March 10, 2013 regarding our work on the new Goodwill building on John’s Island.  We worked with the client and engineer to design a series of rain gardens in the parking lot and around the perimeter to handle stormwater and provide a visually appealing planting design.  A wire fence with native coral vine in the rear provides a screen that is also beautiful.

Once it has had a chance to grow in, the diversity of native plant material will provide wildlife habitat, while maintaining the rural character of the island and a visually appealing landscape.

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‘Infusion’ among Piccolo’s broad array of events
Published on 05/27/11

An explosion of the arts is about to detonate like celestial confetti.

Even as the Spoleto Festival USA celebrates its 35th year with the opening festivities today at Charleston City Hall, devotees of the companion Piccolo Spoleto Festival are pouring over a long list of events from which to choose for the 17-day performing arts festivals.

The risk rests with overlooking some of the more unusual or quirky possibilities amid a raft of riches.

To wit: Artist on Fire’s visual arts offering “Infusion: The Laws of Force & Motion,” wherein Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion is given a fresh spin, with the pain of creation giving birth to something “unexpectedly remarkable, astonishingly beautiful, and miraculously perfect.”

Running through June 12 in the chapel at Citadel Square Baptist Church, 328 Meeting St., this multimedia exhibit explores the cycles of life, the forces that propel change, and “what results from active, purposeful interaction with our world.”

Fourteen artists and eight musicians, all but one from the Charleston area, reveal varied aspects of the theme through works in painting, sculpture, dance, photography, film, installation art, music and poetry.

” ‘Infusion’ represents a group of artists who are among the most committed, passionate people who find great joy in the arts,” said Ellen Dressler Moryl of the Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, which coordinates and oversees Piccolo. “They are great at helping us see more clearly the beauty of the world and our own community,” she said.

“Similarly, we believe the festival does much to connect people and create community. We have had an excellent run for 32 years of Piccolo Spoleto and expect in our 33rd to continue to reach out to those who have not experienced the festival.”

Though hardly obscured by the wide array of Piccolo events, organizers suggest that there’s one not to miss — Sunday’s Spotlight Concert appearance by Italian pianist Laura Magnani.

In an official Sister City exchange between Spoleto and Umbria, Italy, and Charleston, Magnani will perform a program for solo piano including works by Chopin, Liszt and Prokofieff. Magnani, founder and artistic director of the Spoleto (Italy) Piano Festival, will play at 8 p.m. at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park.

Moryl said this marks the first in a series of planned exchanges. Jack Alterman will lead a group of Charleston photographers to Italy in the fall.

Other Piccolo events to ponder include Pure Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s controversial play “Race” at 334 East Bay St.; What If? Productions’ two-night run of the audacious play “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the American Theatre, 446 King St.; and an appearance by Rhiannon Giddens Laffan (of Carolina Chocolate Drops renown) for the choral music concert “Eleganza” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 18 Thomas St.

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A feature article in the Local & State section of the Post and Couriertoday highlights a recent completed project REMARK was involved in.  The new Bojangles restaurant in Mt. Pleasant just opened last week and the architecture critic, Robert Behre, interviewed JR of Remark and Richard Gowe of LS3P architects.  Below is the article written by Behre.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Most people who don’t like America’s suburbs have a long and legitimate list of complaints.These gripes include: Many buildings waste land; they’re too homogenous; they’re solely car-oriented; and they simply look cheap.

The new Bojangles’ at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road went through Charleston’s Commercial Corridor Design Review, which required the chain to move away from its stock design and add other touches, such as this brick fence that screens the parking lot.

But now that many cities and towns have some architectural review process that scrutinizes new development — at least significant buildings on major highways — things are beginning to change.  It’s not that new suburban development is looking urban like downtown Charleston, but it is beginning to address, with success, some of the gripes.

Take the two new Bojangles’ restaurants here and at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road.

The Mount Pleasant restaurant at 1644 U.S. Highway 17 involved a remodeling of an inexpensive retail store that was built with a single width of concrete block.  Richard Gowe of LS3P Associates Ltd., who worked on the design with architect Brian Wurst, improved it by removing a large, awkward porte-cochere out front and by extending the building’s block walls up about five feet to screen the heating and air conditioning units on top.  Gowe says the design also included a series of windows larger than found in most fast food restaurants, as well as an outdoor eating space.

But the real achievement here might be the extensive site work, which included planting about 45 new trees on the one-acre site. J.R. Kramer, a landscape architect with Remark of North Charleston, also created three bioswales — low areas that not only collect rainwater but also hold and filter it.

Kramer says all new plants are native and not only provide a sense of place and wildlife habitat, but they also change with the seasons and need less water and pruning.

River birch trees on the western end provide shade in the summer but lose their leaves in the winter and allow sun to hit the building.

“We integrated stormwater with landscape architecture,” Kramer says. “This is the future.”

The Bojangles’ in southern Charleston went before that city’s Commercial Corridor Design Review Board, which — like Mount Pleasant –required a taller parapet to shield mechanical equipment as well as larger windows in the dining area.

The city also required the chain to use a more muted shade of its trademark orange. While its plantings aren’t nearly as elaborate as those in the Mount Pleasant restaurant, the site is bordered by a handsome new brick wall that screens the parking lot.  “Because the parking lot is raised, it works pretty well,” Gowe says. “With review boards, all 360 degrees of the site have to be addressed.”

Of course, this comes at a cost.  Kevin Archer of K-Bo, Inc., which developed the Bojangles’, estimates the review boards added about 27 percent to the cost of designing and building the two restaurants.  “It’s not a small number,” Gowe says of 27 percent. “I have out of town people (saying) we are concerned about design review boards.”  But Archer also concedes they’re attracting more business, because the stores look more upscale and inviting.  “With review boards, it takes longer but the results are superior,” Gowe says. “You have to acknowledge that.”

Robert Behre

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The Piccolo Spoleto art exhibit ‘Passing Notion?’ was featured in the Post & Courier this Sunday.  Adam Parker wrote an article titled ‘Artists take a ‘Notion’ to express beliefs through work, performances’ highlighting the muiltimedia exhibit in which JR and Holly Kramer were a part. Read the full article at : http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/jun/06/06notion/

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The renovation of the Ripley Light Drystack Marina was featured in the Post & Courier recently.  REMARK was the landscape architect on the project; developing a landscape plan that utilized existing plant material and additional native plants.  See the article at www.postandcourier.com

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