“You haven’t just made a space, you’ve made a park.” I think I can speak for all of us when I say this comment by our client Harry Lesesne of the Parks Conservancy is still ringing in our ears. Knowing that, with our small pavilion, we’ve made that first vital step in establishing West Ashley’s new community garden is a great feeling to say the least. Today was the final review of the pavilion, which was attended by our professors here at the CACC, members of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, city officials, and many West Ashley community members. The pavilion is nearly complete, and we were able to share our work as well as the lessons we’ve learned along the way with the people of West Ashley. It was, in short, a monumental day for us.
The warm reception we received following our presentation of the pavilion was indescribably gratifying. A comment by Charleston Parks official Jim Martin has me thinking. Jim took some of us aside after the presentation and told us not to forget that, even as we return to Clemson, the pavilion will carry on and to have a great impact on the surrounding neighborhood. “This is huge,” Jim said. Knowing that this project will serve its users well down the road makes our work this semester all the more worthwhile for me personally.
I have never, in all my studios so far, had to think so much about my project from the perspective of the users before… because there haven’t been any. All my projects to date have been conceptual, nothing concrete. The pavilion is a literal piece of architecture, not a drawing on the page. It’s really re-affirming to me as an architecture student to know that architecture can actually impact people’s lives, which is what we saw today. Architecture can change its users’ daily routines in small but important ways, and our objective, as architects, is to make sure this change is positive.
We have a few more steps until the pavilion is 100% finished, but we’re nearly there. Hopefully the finished pavilion is the beginning of a good kind of change in West Ashley. So here’s to you, Professor Pastre my fellow members of Studio V! I think it’s safe to call this a job well done!