Charleston Regional Development Alliance

Berkeley, Charleston & Dorchester Counties

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Noisette community master plan receives international award

Jul. 1, 2005
Noisette News Release
North Charleston, SC (July 13, 2005) – The American Society of Landscape Architects has selected the Noisette Community Master Plan for a 2005 Professional Award. The Noisette plan received the ASLA’s Award of Excellence, the competition’s highest honor, in the Analysis and Planning Category. North Charleston’s Noisette Project was chosen in a field of 520 entries, including projects which received citations from locations as diverse as Barcelona, Spain and Seattle, Washington. Only four entries received the prestigious Award of Excellence in separate categories, and only the Noisette master plan was awarded in the Analysis and Planning category.

The ASLA cited the master plan’s vision for the former Charleston Naval Base along the Cooper River as an opportunity to redevelop 350 acres of the base, and 2,650 acres of the surrounding neighborhoods in the City of North Charleston, into an economically and environmentally sustainable community, as the reasons for selecting Noisette. Developed with the hands-on participation in a three- year community-driven design process – the master plan sets forth guidelines and recommendations to create “The New American City” in North Charleston.

The ASLA competition jurors called the master plan a “great example at every scale of investigation” that addresses “important issues for our time” with an “uncliched and compelling presentation”. The Noisette process of “inventorying the asset”, looking at the community’s strengths to determine long-term, sustainable solutions was cited by the ASLA web site as, “Together, these elements form the integrated planning basis for establishing the Noisette Community of North Charleston as the leading sustainable redevelopment of an urban environment in the United States.” The ASLA also cited North Charleston’s rebound from the closure of the Navy Base in the mid-1990s.

“This ASLA honor belongs to the people of North Charleston, as much as it belongs to the architects and other professionals who worked on the master plan,” injects Mayor R. Keith Summey of North Charleston. “This award validates the Noisette vision for the redevelopment of North Charleston. In the City’s 2002 Purchase Agreement with the Noisette Company to purchase 350 acres on the former base, a clause stipulates that a ‘world class’ master plan be developed, which could be implemented to meet the City’s goal of becoming a leader in sustainable redevelopment of the urban environment. This award shows that international experts overwhelmingly agree that this plan is truly world class.”

John L. Knott, Jr., CEO and President of the Noisette Company, LLC, concurs with Summey. “The ASLA Award of Excellence serves as a testament to the citizens of North Charleston and the Noisette Project design team in implementing a sustainable vision for the City’s future,” he says. “At its core, Noisette is about people. Thousands of citizens worked closely with our development team, local government and the design team over a period of three years in developing the master plan, which reflects the collective wisdom of the community and the expertise of the design team. In practical terms, the master plan addresses a range of initiatives which address community needs, including social justice, economic development, environmental restoration, the arts, and human health in building. Noisette represents a new benchmark for sustainable thinking, a prototype for the future of community revitalization.”

The master plan is the product of a partnership between the City of North Charleston and a team of experts in sustainability, united to define and restore neighborhood character while expanding community resources. The design team was led by two firms, Burt Hill of Washington, D.C., and BNIM Architects of Kansas City, Missouri, which worked closely in collaboration with Rolf Sauer & Partners of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Applied Ecological Services of Wisconsin, and other national planning experts to draft the master plan.

“The Noisette Community Master Plan outlines new standards for creating a vibrant, healthy city, embracing its heritage and celebrating its role as a community, ecosystem, and marketplace,” said Bob Berkebile, FAIA, founding principal of BNIM. “It’s gratifying to see this unique collaboration between a developer, a renowned team of planners and the local community selected for the ASLA’s highest honor.”

“For the Noisette Community, we based the master plan on something called the Triple Bottom Line,” added Harry Gordon, FAIA, chairman of Burt Hill, “a balance between people, planet, and prosperity, embodying the belief that sustainable cities must be equally responsive to social needs, environmental responsibility, and economic vitality.”

The Noisette Community Master Plan encompasses 3,000 acres in the historic core of the City of North Charleston, including approximately 350 acres of the former Charleston Navy Base. The master plan sets guidelines for a City-Noisette collaboration to develop a diverse, interconnected network of neighborhoods, businesses, parks, retail centers, and environmentally friendly entrepreneurial businesses, integrating new development with adjacent communities. Throughout the community, the master plan calls for a multi-modal transportation center designed to integrate light rail, automotive, pedestrian, bicycle and water transport.

Highlights of the master plan include The Navy Yard, the locus of the revitalization effort on the former base, which will incorporate up to 5400 dwelling units and more than six million square feet of commercial space, on the Noisette Company’s 350 acres on the former base. The plan’s 10-acre, $6 million Riverfront Park, which just opened to public acclaim after a July 4th celebration, reconnects the people of North Charleston with the Cooper River for the first time in 104 years. Overall, the project is estimated to take 20 years, with an aggregate public-private investment of $2 billion.

Nationally, the ASLA Professional Awards honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe. Award recipients will be honored at the Award Presentation Ceremony on Monday, October 10, 2005, during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Founded in 1899, the ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession, and serves to advance the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship.

The Noisette Company, LLC is a private, sustainable community developer working with the City of North Charleston in a public-private partnership driven by community participation. The Noisette Project encompasses areas of the former Charleston Navy Base, and traditional neighborhoods like Park Circle, designed by William B. Marquis, a Harvard-educated landscape architect, around 1913.
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