South Carolina’s premier fertility center, Coastal Fertility Specialists, is expanding to the Nexton neighborhood to better serve patients in the Summerville area. As experienced experts with high pregnancy rates and national patient satisfaction awards, Coastal Fertility Specialists wanted a forward-thinking, modern design. Due date: 2020
“Modern architecture does not mean the use of immature new materials; the main thing is to refine materials in a more human direction.” Alvar Aalto
Design goals for this residence included simple lines, livable spaces and sustainability. Thoughtful and exacting decisions were made collectively with the client, architect and builder. Materials include warm woods, stucco and glass.
Often times architecture is more about how a person feels within the building than the individual building materials and details. When Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, a local non-profit who provides services for children who have been abused, asked us to assist them with their building renovation, we knew that outcome was especially important. This is one of those organizations that you wish didn't have to exist but you are so glad they are part of the community to help children heal.
The existing building, located in Mount Pleasant, was originally designed as a church and most recently functioned as a gym. The goal for the renovation was to spend the majority of the dollars focused on the client and staff experience. Therefore, the organization did not seek bold architectural changes to the exterior. They instead invested in new paint and welcoming gardens including a gate inspired by those one would find in historic Charleston gardens; we designed theirs with custom ironwork incorporating the DNCAC logo.
The design process had a very high level of communication with Dr. Carole Swiecicki, the Executive Director and Beverly Hutchison, Director of Development, that allowed us to truly understand the priorities of the client need / experience, the individual roles of staff members and their built environment requirements. At every meeting and design discussion, we asked ourselves if the clients would feel welcome, safe and cared for.
One of the DNCAC board members is the VP of Manufacturing and Materials at the Charleston Boeing plant and in turn implemented a ‘lean manufacturing’ study specific to efficient client and staff flow. One specific goal was to better the client experience and reduce the time it took for a client to move through the building on their first visit - a visit that involves initial intake, a forensic interview and a medical exam. That is a lot of unknowns - different rooms and different staff interactions - for a child who has recently experienced abuse. Through the design of the Main Lobby, close proximity of the Intake / Family Advocate offices and interview rooms, the creation of an second, quieter waiting area adjacent to the Medical suite, all with colorful and intuitive way-finding, we hope that the physical space makes this visit a little easier for these brave clients and their families.
The most challenging aspect of the project was fitting the programmatic requirements of the staff into the building while keeping client experience paramount in a limited amount of space. This organization has so many amazing staff members - from the first person to smile at you when you come in, to the Family Advocates and Therapists to the Education, Development and Operation folks who keep the organization running behind the scenes. Every design meeting included a discussion about how to take care of the staff whether it was the size / type / location of their work space or the importance put on the Break Room and outdoor area for staff to decompress and socialize. There is even a Meditation Room for staff use. The staff does the hard work and makes the magics happen within these walls; hopefully this renovation has improved their daily experience as well.
One of our favorite aspects of the design is how the initial client visit starts. The child is given the opportunity to select a bird (reminiscent of the DNCAC logo) and attach it to the custom wall art installation which depicts a tree (symbolizing support, growth and strength). At a minimum this is an ice-breaker and a way for the DNCAC staff to interact right away with the child. At most it becomes symbolic once the child sees all of the other birds on the wall, hence realizing that they are not alone. Additionally, for any visitor to the building or staff member viewing the mural, it becomes a visual document of just how many children the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is helping. This idea was a collective effort among the leadership staff and designers. It is so poignant - every time we would present this, everyone got chills.
Grand Opening and Open House is open to all. [Friday, August 24 at 11am 677 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC.]
Click here for the full Post and Courier article.
The City of Charleston Capital Projects and Recreation Dept. staff has completed comprehensive outreach sessions the last few years to obtain citizen feedback that help form the programming. The current design is approximately 20,000sf and includes a Gymnasium, Multi-Purpose Room, Fitness Room along with support spaces (offices, meeting room, storage, restrooms / showers).
The inspiration for the design came directly from Daniel Island's agrarian history. This agricultural context can be discovered at the existing concessions building at Governor’s Park. That history and context, plus understanding the fun and casual types of functions that are housed in this building really solidified this design direction. The building material choice and detailing are selected and will be designed to align with the quality level of Daniel Island and durability requirements of a public building.
Rendering: Seamon Whiteside + Rush Dixon Architects
We were humbled to be a small part of the next chapter for Charleston's homeless shelter, One80 Place, as they increased the number of beds available to veterans, women and children and in their downtown Charleston Family Center. There was more permitting assistance than architecture in this effort for us, which began in the fall. Donations from SCE&G, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, First Citizens and private citizens combined to create 22 additional beds, expanded restrooms and gathering space for adults and children.
Instead of being evaluated by the buildings we build, City of Charleston's Mayor John Tecklenburg suggested “I believe we are judged … by how we treat those in our community most in need,” he said. “The mission here … is to empower people to get back in the mainstream of being able to provide for themselves.”
Click here for the full Post & Courier article on the dedication of the new Family Center. To support One80 Place, please check on their website or Facebook page (One-Eighty Place) for opportunities ranging from monetary donations, volunteering, providing "Need of the Week" items and advocacy.
As young architecture students exploring the streets of Charleston, sketch books and (SLR) cameras in hand, Rush and I knew we were walking on hallowed architectural ground. Charleston's best of times and worst of times were visible in her historic structures - some preserved as museums, some renovated for current day functions, and the less lucky, waiting for their day of restoration. It was, therefore, a humbling moment when one of our wonderful clients asked for our assistance with a renovation to 107 E. Bay Street, one of the 13 historic and connected structures, currently known as Rainbow Row.
"Excellent examples of early-eighteen-century wharfside construction, the dwellings along East Bay Street provide insight into the mercantile life of Charleston." [Jonathan Poston, The Buildings of Charleston]
Originally designed and built as stores on the ground level and merchant's living quarters above, these buildings served Charleston's port and directly fronted the Cooper River. (The water's edge at this part of town has since shifted away.) As row houses, they mostly share a party wall in between houses with private access to the residences from the rear alley. Subsequent fires, the effects of the Civil War and the earthquake in 1886, all gave these buildings scars, dark chapters and in some instances a complete rebuild.
"In the pre-Revolutionary period this was the site of George Flagg's paint shop, which stocked pigment and oils for the painting of Charleston's houses. After the structure was destroyed in the fire of 1778, Flagg sold the empty lot in 1791 to John Blake." [Jonathan Poston, The Buildings of Charleston] As evidenced in the photo comparison, the building was once had a hipped roof which was altered to have a gable parapet wall. Alterations through the decades are common place as buildings undergo repairs, adapt to new families and functions.
The entire Rush Dixon Architects studio is humbled to be a part of the team for this next generation of 107 E. Bay which includes the very talented design and construction stewards, Brett Elrod (C. B. Elrod Construction) and Cortney Bishop (Courtney Bishop Design). We look forward to updating you on construction and design progress.
Rush Dixon Architects is a solutions-based, contemporary architecture and design firm. Results driven, we create value for our clients through designs that are both strategic and artful, always keeping client goals at the forefront. We believe that modern design is not found solely in the materials, but rather through the pursuit of better spaces for living and doing business. It is truly a privilege to be a small part of someone's incredible journey. In this case it was the accounting rockstars (yes, that's a thing) at Accountfully, a fully outsourced, modern accounting firm in Charleston, SC that focuses on entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-ups.
They out-grew their current office space and were in the process of purchasing 533 Rutledge Ave. for their new headquarters when we first met owners, Meredith and Brad Ebenhoeh. Our scope included reimagining the existing first floor layout for optimum operational flow, function and brand alignment as well as assembling a Permit Set of documents for the City of Charleston to review and approve prior to construction. The exercise of taking this historic gem and ensuring a relevant, future chapter is one of the best things about being an architect in Charleston - designing how modern and current functions can exist and thrive within historic walls.
The collaboration that followed yielded a work environment tailored to how Accountfully functions: a beverage bar for both staff and clients as a welcoming feature, the generous meeting space, a mix of private offices and open work spaces. The impeccable taste and instincts of our clients perfectly captured the Accountfully brand.
“Rush Dixon Architects was a dream to work with on our downtown commercial renovation. As timing was of the essence, we needed to move quickly and they delivered! Their communication was impeccable and deliverables were high quality. Their knowledge and experience of working with the city was very helpful in keeping our project on track. More than that, Rush and Judy are incredibly sweet and down to earth. We are now happy to call them friends." Meredith Ebenhoeh, Accountfully