I love when a building opens!
LS3P was fortunate enough to celebrate another building opening this past week. When an owner celebrates a grand opening it is definitely a special moment for an architect. It is the culmination of several years of hard work and the best part is, your client is very happy.
They have a new home.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston Pastoral Center opened its doors recently. That's a real mouthful so I will refer to it as The Pastoral Center for the rest of the blog. The project is actually a campus of 3 separate buildings that are placed along the edge of the Ashley River. So I guess you could say we had 3 openings!
This post will focus on the Office Building.
For the Chapel go to: Diocese of Charleston Pastoral Center: Chapel
To see the Assembly Building go to: Diocese of Charleston Pastoral Center: Assembly Building
The Office Exterior
One of the best parts about this project is the site. You just can't beat waterfront property. In addition to the breathtaking views of the marsh and Ashley River, the property is also home to tons of beautiful live oak trees. Most of those trees are sprinkled along the edge of the marsh, but one oak tree was smack-dab in the middle of where we wanted to put the office building.
And this oak tree was a big boy. Which you can see in the image below.
Although this oak was challenging to work around, it became one of the defining features of the office. It is now the centerpiece of a private courtyard on the south side of the building and provides some much needed shade.
And let's face it. That tree is awesome!
Usually when someone says that your building looks like an office building........it is not a compliment. And I think it is safe to say that the Diocese Office, really doesn't resemble your typical office building.
If someone were to ask, "what style are the buildings at the Pastoral Center?" I would say that the buildings are a blend of Ecclesiastical and Lowcountry architecture. Meaning we wanted all 3 buildings to have a strong tie to the church, while also referencing the local architecture of Charleston.
What is Lowcountry Architecture?
Lowcountry refers to the southeastern region of South Carolina that is along the coast and very close to sea level. Hence the description: low. The term is commonly used to describe the landscape of the region, the culture, the cuisine and the vernacular architecture.
One of the most defining characteristics of Lowcountry architecture is the use of shade devices.
It's hot down here, y'all!
Lowcountry buildings use trees, deep roof overhangs and large covered porches to combat the harsh southern sun. It is common for the buildings to be elevated in an effort to mitigate flood damage. Typical building materials include metal roofs , clapboard siding, board and batten siding, and brick.
We were able to pull all of these lowcountry characteristics into the design of the campus and as a result, the Pastoral Center has a real unique sense of place.
The Office Interior
Prior to the opening of this building, the diocesan offices were spread out over 7 different smaller buildings in and around Charleston. This new facility consolidates all of those departments under one roof, which will result in a much more efficient operation. And most important, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone described that people who have worked together for years over the phone, are now together working under one common spirit and mission.
The office will house approximately 85 people. The work areas are a combination of open workstations and smaller private offices.
A modern office must be flexible. To achieve optimum flexibility we incorporated a variety of open workstation-style office areas as well as traditional enclosed private offices. Having a variety of different sized gathering spaces is also important for a flexible office space. There are spaces for a more intimate 6 person meeting as well as meeting rooms where 20 people can gather. The table pictured below has the ability to open up into a V-shape allowing everyone at the table an unencumbered view of the monitors.
Not a bad place to work, right?