Tag Archives: south carolina

The great new Brew Pub in the Upper Penninsula, Edmund’s Oast, has received numerous accolades as of late.  As far as we are concerned they are well founded!  The latest mention is in the list of top Drinking Patios.  Having had the opportunity to be a part of the design team on this project, we were quite thrilled with the latest distinction featuring the outdoor seating area.

Edmund’s Oast is one of the tenants in the urban renewal project known as Half Mile North in the Upper Penninsula of Charleston.  We have been the LA for the project from the beginning and with tenants like Blue Acorn and SIB, it has become a great new addition to the urban fabric with a uniquely modern aesthetic.  We collaborated with the clients and architects to create a unique identity for this collection of innovative businesses through the use of sustainable features including native plants, green roofs, hardscape details that include permeable paving, and long lasting, quality materials.

We took our design cues from the architecture both existing and new, the local ecology, and the site’s industrial past to form a vocabulary of custom paving, way finding, plant palette, custom site furnishings such as bike racks, bollards, benches and fencing that creates a unified site identity for the various tenants while still providing unique features for each user.

 

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urban farm in the heart of Philadelphia

I am so intrigued by the rising interest in urban agriculture.  It seems like not a week goes by that I do not see an article somewhere discussing the topic or showcasing a new project.  Here in Charleston especially, I think it so easily fits in with our culture of gardening and the love of local food.

In the gardens of Charleston and the surrounding areas you find a plethora of fruit trees, fruiting vines, and herbs filling containers and growing underfoot in gaps in patio stones.  A traditional vegetable plot even makes an appearance here and there.  We have recently had much interest in residential projects for incorporating vegetable plots, fruiting vines and trees in the design.  Even small urban homes can creatively incorporate climbing vines, tomatoes, cucumbers or containers for herbs in their outdoor space.  Utilizing underused or forgotten spaces for an urban farm is not such a stretch.  Urban farming on a larger scale is a very different animal requiring a system of management by volunteers or a paid staff or both.  But I think it can be a wonderful addition to the urban environment.  As Landscape Architects we are uniquely qualified to bring different interests together to create a space that functions well on all levels.  Urban agriculture has the potential to be more than a little community garden.  With good design it can be a ‘farm’ within the framework of a larger community space that functions as a beautiful respite from the urban fabric, a gathering space for community events, an educational tool, a much needed source of fresh produce for ‘food deserts’, a place for rainwater harvesting, and a place to integrate native plants and vegetables to promote wildlife.  One local urban garden I’m aware of is at MUSC, designed by a local Landscape Architect.  Another great example, although not local, is the Lafayette Greens in Detroit.

I grew up in the suburbs and rural areas of Georgia, but my maternal grandfather almost always had a garden growing.  They moved around, but he would have a space for a rather large garden even if it was adjacent to a cul-de-sac.  I have fond memories of him in his worn overalls and straw hat, helping to pick snap beans and husking corn.  We live on a small lot in a dense neighborhood, so my own backyard garden is quite small.  Still, we’ve managed to squeeze in an heirloom pumpkin plant, heirloom cherry tomatoes and cucumbers growing up a fence, a Meyer lemon tree and sunflowers in a narrow 3ft x 15ft plot.  Another small plot about 4ft x 5ft has carrots, beans, native rosemary, strawberries and green pepper.  The rest of our backyard is a modern take on a Charleston garden and boasts many native plants.  The size may be small, but the benefits have been great.  My children love running out to see the status of the vegetables and have been tempted to try new things.  They are learning the value of patience, hard work and the beauty of each season.  The number of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and frogs has greatly increased as well.

I’m hooked on the idea of urban agriculture.  The possibilities of landscape architects being able to beautifully combine the much needed functions of community gathering spaces, food production, education and opportunities for healthy living, water harvesting and wildlife habitat are exciting.  Hopefully this will not just be a trend, but have staying power.  Who knows, you might see a few vegetables, fruits or herbs working their way into some of our current projects.  As a mom, I’m always looking for a way to sneak in a few veggies here and there!   -HRK

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