Silling Associates has been honored with the Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture for the Haddad Riverfront Park and the Schoenbaum Stage project in downtown Charleston, along with the Merit Award for Achievement in Sustainable Architecture for a private residence located in Huntington.
Haddad Riverfront Park was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1993 as a 36,000-square-foot concrete amphitheater on the banks of the Kanawha River. It is a regional gathering place for people to celebrate holidays and city festivals, listen to music and enjoy watching the river traffic.
In 2008, the City of Charleston organized a committee to investigate ways of making the park more user friendly and visually appealing, connecting city to park and park to river.
With a Small Business Association grant of $2,400,000 and a private donation of $250,000, the design team was hired by the City of Charleston to address five separate projects: a shade structure (canopy) for the center section of seating, a permanent performance stage, a pavilion, streetscape and boat docks.
The primary design objectives of the canopy were to create a unique and iconic structure celebrating Charleston’s “front porch”, to provide shade for people and amphitheater surface keeping the concrete cool, and the canopy was required to allow unobstructed views of the sky for viewing fireworks during city festivals and holidays. A tensile fabric and steel structure was designed for its ability for long spans with a single large fabric panel to retract toward and away from the stage.
When retracted the mobile panel rests below a street side fabric panel structure. The 2,400-square-foot mobile panel is 80 feet wide and rides along two steel arches which span 90 feet from sidewalk level to the river level bulkhead. The fixed structure rises 50 feet above sidewalk level and is 90 feet wide. The fabric is PTFE, a Teflon-coated fiberglass material which is very durable and virtually self-cleaning.
The design objectives of the performance stage were to provide an intimate connection between audience and performers both on land and in the water, to honor the long history of this place as a river port going back to the mid-nineteenth century, to be easily maintained after occasional floods, and accommodate the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. The stage is constructed on a 1,200 square foot concrete base with a paddle-wheeled theme using the steel and tensile fabric structure materials used at the Canopy, for visual continuity, economy and easy maintenance.
A terrace will be the access point to the future dock system, which is expected to be constructed in the summer of 2011.
After hiking the property for four years, the clients and architect began planning the home using the best sustainable practices and technologies available with the goal of being completely off-the-grid within five years.
The house follows the natural topography of the sites’ north/south ridgeline and is nestled into the slope providing a low-profile, one-story east side for shady afternoons on the screen porch, while the west side is two-storied for tree-house views from the main interior space across the gulley. The interiors are animated with natural air and light encouraged by two light shafts on either end of the internal circulation for stack effect ventilation. The house is designed in a contemporary Arts and Crafts style reflecting the client’s appreciation for natural materials, handcrafted workmanship and simple, yet elegant, detailing.