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How sustainability fueled the design of this massive Charleston development

Jason Thomas //October 5, 2022//

How sustainability fueled the design of this massive Charleston development

Jason Thomas //October 5, 2022//

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Sustainability was the focus of the design of Morrison Yard apartments. (Photo/SeamonWhiteside)

As Charleston’s newest apartment complex is set to open, design firm SeamonWhiteside has revealed the environmental and sustainable inspiration behind its design.

The firm provided master planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, permitting and construction administration for Morrison Yard Apartments, the 4.6-acre, sustainably focused mixed-use community located in Charleston’s Upper Peninsula, a SeamonWhiteside news release stated.

The Morrison Yard Apartments is one of many of the firm’s recent projects focusing on innovative and sustainable practices, the release stated. SeamonWhiteside created many mindfully-designed spaces within the apartment complex, incorporating elements such as rain gardens and pervious pavers, to create a low-impact, eco-friendly project, according to the release.

The Morrison Yard Apartments, which were developed by Origin Development Partners, will open this fall.

“Within the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, there is a growing trend towards eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Charleston, specifically, has a new Stormwater Manual that encourages low-impact development such as rain gardens, bioswales, roof gardens, and pervious pavers,” Mary Martinich, landscape architecture team leader at SeamonWhiteside, said in the release. “These best management practices help soften and cool urban areas that would otherwise be paved. As the Lowcountry continues to develop, designing open spaces and incorporating trees into the plan is essential to help reduce flooding and slow stormwater.”

Here are some of the multiple sustainable and innovative elements at Morrison Yard:

Rain gardens

The apartments feature six linear rain gardens along Morrison Drive that capture stormwater from adjacent sidewalks and impervious surfaces and are filled with native plants that help trap and remove sediment and toxins from the water. The rain gardens also help to slow the water, which reduces the velocity at which the water enters the storm system.

Preservation of nature

SeamonWhiteside protected a 73-inch grand live oak tree at the entrance to the parking garage and worked the design around this tree.

Pervious pavers

The firm designed pervious pavers into overflow parking spaces adjacent to the wetland and entry of the parking garage. These pavers reduce storm runoff and allow water to percolate into the ground. The areas can function as a multi-purpose open space when not being used for vehicular access.

Electronic vehicle friendly

The apartment complex includes electronic vehicle parking spaces with charging stations.

Health and wellness amenities

  • A trail connection will connect up to the “Wonder’s Way” multi-use trail on the Ravenel Bridge that connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant. This encourages health and wellness of the apartment and office users.
  • The design incorporates bike ramps from the sidewalk on Morrison to the development, encouraging and promoting access for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • The apartments also include outdoor workstations in the courtyards and outdoor activities such as a competition-size bocce court, outdoor grilling stations, a fire pit, and a pool.

Partners on the project include Housing Studio, Woodfield, CF Evans, AquaBlue Pools, Green Roof Outfitters, SiteOne, Baytree, Critical Systems Engineering, and E.M. Seabrook Surveying.