Tag Archives: stormwater

A rain garden is a garden that is designed to function both as a stormwater collector, and an aesthetic feature in the landscape.

What is the advantage of having a rain garden as part of the designed landscape?

  1. reduce the effects of erosion and water contamination caused by stormwater runoff
  2. support habitat for wildlife
  3. provide an attractive feature in the built environment
  4. provide opportunity for water infiltration and the recharging of the water table

We are all familiar with the typical rain event that produces a sudden amount of water that needs to be removed from roads, parking lots, sidewalks and away from our houses.  Typically, this water is directed as quickly as possible to the closest storm sewer, into a pipe and out of site.  From there, the water usually empties into our waterways filled with everything it picked up along the way including oil, fertilizers, pesticides and anything else it came into contact with.  By utilizing rain gardens, we can take back this natural resource by providing a place for it to be cleaned and discharged gradually.  And at the same time we are able to enjoy a beautiful feature in our urban and suburban environments.

 

 

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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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