Friday, November 10, 2017

Playful design for Children's Museum expansion gets initial BAR approval

"This is Charleston’s museum, we are the stewards of it."

Posted by Connelly Hardaway and Adam Manno on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM

click to enlarge CITY OF CHARLESTON BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW / LIOLLO ARCHITECTURE
  • City of Charleston Board of Architectural Review / Liollo Architecture
Earlier this week the Board of Architectural Review approved the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry's expansion plan. On Monday the Post & Courier outlined the Museum's conceptual expansion plan, which will add 8,900 square feet to the 10,400 square foot space.

The expansion replaces a storage shed to the west of the main museum building; the BAR approved the demolition of this shed and approval of the conceptual design of the expansion, developed by the Roto Design Group.

According to Executive Director Nichole Myles, The Children's Museum has seen double digit growth in their attendance in the past year alone, highlighting an obvious need for more space.

"It is kind of a big deal. We’re thrilled," says Myles. "Liollio [architecture] have worked really, really hard with us to kind of bring a vision of playfulness and whimsy that could still be modern and clean and deferential to the historical buildings around so we were excited that the BAR was able to see that. Certainly our constituency has been very supportive of this idea."

The CML was established in 2003 as a nonprofit whose mission is to engage young children's potential. Myles says that approximately 80 percent of the museum's visitors are local, adding, "We see ourselves as a hands-on experience for our children, for local children."
click to enlarge CITY OF CHARLESTON BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW / LIOLLO ARCHITECTURE
  • City of Charleston Board of Architectural Review / Liollo Architecture
The expansion plans feature that aforementioned whimsy, with colorful poles tilted to look like Pick-up sticks in the front entry way of the new building. The design is unlike anything we've ever seen on Upper King Street — and Myles thinks that's just fine, since this is the only Children's Museum in the Lowcountry.

"Our building is a civic building, so there’s a new set of rules around civic buildings, but the rule is that a civic building should reflect on the outside its purpose on the inside," says Myles. "We’re about the power of play, learning to play and being magical for children and the families, so I think the BAR fully understood what our role is within the community and what we do here, and was definitely willing to work with us as design of a function of that."

Myles says now that the concept has been approved the museum will ramp up fundraising. "That makes this project very, very real. Because we are a nonprofit institution we have to raise these funds, foundation grants, national and programming grants that we can get to try to fully fund this opportunity from Charleston. That’s a lot of the work that goes on. We’ll begin our work on the inside. Our concept was done by an exhibit design firm called Rodo. They came and spend time in listening sessions with a variety of members of the community. This is Charleston’s museum, we are the stewards of it."

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