College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Clemson Design Center wins Service Award from AIA Charleston


The Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C) was recognized with the AIA Service Award from AIA Charleston at the 2022 AIA Charleston Design and Service Awards program on November 8, 2022.

“The Clemson Design Center in Charleston has become a leader in Lowcountry by being a catalyst for positive change upholding the mission of a land grant University,” said Elissa Morrison, AIA Charleston president. “The scale, reach and type of work is varied through their programs including urban design, design and build, historic preservation and architecture.”

Morrison said the service awards program seeks to recognize an individual, group, or organization that promotes the value of good design, improves the built environment, and serves the greater community in and around Charleston.

“All the programs at the CDC.C apply their research in the field within the Charleston area, and there is no better way for our students to learn than to roll up their sleeves alongside professionals and community members in the Lowcountry,” said David Pastre, director of the CDC.C.

The CDC.C has served the Charleston community in myriad ways in recent years.

The Green Heart Project at the William Enston Homes site is one of 20 projects completed by students in Clemson’s CommunityBUILD certificate program.

The CommunityBUILD program has completed a total of 20 projects since 2010, 13 of which are permanent installations in the Lowcountry. The most recent is a pavilion for the Ardmore-Sherwood Forest community. The program is currently partnering with the Charleston County School District on a project at Frierson Elementary on Wadmalaw Island, which is on track for completion by the end of the year.

The Clemson Architecture Center (CAC.C), has focused its efforts on engagement with local K-12 students through two programs: Amazing Architecture and the Architecture Career Summer Academy.

Amazing Architecture brings 300-500 elementary and middle school students from Charleston and Richland counties to the CDC.C annually to learn about careers in architecture, tour the facility and draw with Clemson students. The Architecture Career Summer Academy is a week-long summer camp offered to Charleston County high school students who have been identified by the school district with an interest in architecture or engineering. The participating students get to explore architecture as a career path through project-based learning opportunities and structured field study experiences.

Middle-school-aged students and teachers gather around a young man displaying an architectural model made of wood and cardboard.
South Carolina K-12 students participate in an “Amazing Architecture” field trip to the Clemson Design Center, Charleston.

“We especially appreciate the CDCC’s elementary and high school engagement to create opportunities for students to learn about the field of architecture and professional opportunities,” Morrison said.

The Master of Resilient Urban Design (MRUD) program has made a statewide service impact through the Riley Mayors’ Design Fellowship. A partnership with the Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities, the fellowship provides a two-and-a-half day workshop for South Carolina mayors to receive confidential expert advice about their cities’ design challenges from expert faculty and peers.

The Historic Preservation program, under the leadership of director Jon Marcoux, has led several projects to preserve African American heritage in the Lowcountry. The most recent project involved community-based collections restoration and management at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge Museum and Cultural Center. The lodge, originally built around 1915, was a hub for civic, religious and educational activity for the Sol Legare community on James Island for decades. Recently, it was restored and converted to a museum. Thanks to a grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, students and faculty in Clemson’s historic preservation program have provided collections management training for community members, conducted conservation assessment, treated objects in the museum’s collection and developed manuals for ongoing care and management.

About the Clemson Design Center, Charleston

The Clemson Design Center, Charleston is part of the Clemson University School of Architecture’s international Fluid Campus® system. Located in the “Cigar Factory” on East Bay Street, it houses programs in three distinct disciplines: historic preservation, resilient urban design, and architecture. The Master of Science in Historic Preservation and Master of Resilient Urban Design programs cater specifically to graduate students, while the architecture program — the CAC.C — offers courses to both undergraduate and graduate students in addition to the CommunityBUILD certificate program and the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure.

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