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image Project: Edisto Beach Interpretive Center

Edisto Beach Interpretive Center

Team : School : Narratives : Costs : Images


Architect Narrative

The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism joint ventured with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, consolidating assets in developing this “Public Teaching Laboratory”. The Interpretive Center serves as a demonstration of how man’s built environment can exhibit greater sensitivity to a natural context. And whereas the building houses exhibits explaining the lowcountry coastal environment, the building itself serves as a demonstration on “green building”.

Set in a heavily wooded site adjacent to a salt marsh and river, the siting considers protection of the natural vegetation, careful integration of pervious roads, preservation of natural features, orientation to views, and respect of 150’ buffers off the creeks and creek inlets. Orientation also evaluated wind and solar angles of the site and the use of xeriscaping.

The building use categories are split into three distinct areas - exhibit/reception/lobby; office and staff work areas; and classroom/conference areas. Passive environmental design incorporates heavy overhangs for glass shading, high ceilings for heat collection and dissipation, low return air grills to the mechanical systems and corporation of cross ventilation where applicable.

The full scope of this exercise cannot be envisioned without some detail regarding the building’s systems and components. Materials incorporated into the design include general wood framing (renewable resources); synthetic wood plank siding; energy efficient glazing (thermal pane); minimal finishes (i.e., concrete flooring); wood products derived from certified sources; and, natural fiber carpets and batt insulation. Building systems integrate high ‘R’ values of the thermal envelope; low energy use appliances; a cistern for rain water capture (for use in toilet facilities); economizer cycle (fresh air) for HVAC system; moisture control; natural day lighting where applicable; and use of sensor systems for lighting, high-energy light fixtures, dimmers, and timers.

The building employees a geothermal closed-loop heating and cooling system. This loop also provides heat transfer and heat recovery from the buildings’ water heaters.

The project manual required an overall reduction in construction hazardous waste of 60%, as well as on-site recycling and composting programs. The General Contractor setup a construction waste management program, which recycled categories of construction waste. This was prime concern, not only for the protection of the immediate environment, but from the reality that over 70% of all landfill debris is generated by construction.

Educator Narrative

-Instills a respect and understanding of the plants and animals indigenous to Edisto.
-Promotes responsible stewardship for the environment (sidewalks prevent run-off; recycled materials)
-Encourages students to view the environment as a classroom, providing ongoing and authentic learning experiences.
-Promotes inquiry and allows for the examination of students’ thoughts and ideas about the environment.

Melissa Vandewiel
Principal Jane Edwards Elementary

Merit Award 2004

Edisto Island
South Carolina


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