After a great first visit to the site, and exciting conversations with our client, we started an official kick-off for this project and hit the ground running. Yesterday our studio class period was dedicated to an intense brainstorming session. We discussed areas of the project that would need further background research, such as:
- John’s Island/Kiawah Island History
- Site Conditions & Weather
- Vernacular (Low Country architecture)
- Local Arts & Businesses
- Plantation/Farm/Market Structures & Precedent
- Construction Techniques
- Other General Precedents
The background research for this project is extremely important to gain a deep understanding of the design opportunity at hand, from large scale to small scale. Items of study were then grouped into categories based on similar research aspects, and my fellow classmates and I all chose a topic group that sparked our curiosity the most.
My group and I began our research into local art, by exploring the Historic Charleston City Market, in the heart of Downtown Charleston. We took a closer look at sweetgrass baskets, sniffed the delightful scent of boiled peanuts, candied nuts, and coffee beans, and dazzled over the unique art and delicate craft displayed by local artists.
I continued to study sweetgrass baskets further, by diving into three books from our library at the Cigar Factory. These texts will provide insight into the history, basket making techniques, and importance of sweetgrass baskets to makers in the Charleston area. Our entire project has a strong connection to sweetgrass basket stands and these books also discuss and display examples of the structure and material quality of these stands historically.
In order to improve our knowledge of sweetgrass basket stands, while bonding with our fellow classmates, our studio plans to take a journey up Highway 17 (Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway) to photograph and explore the stands, then treat ourselves to an early dinner at a local favorite.