The University of South Carolina wants to create one set of standards to govern all new construction so buildings will have a similar look and feel to them.
“Look at the Horseshoe; that is our palette,” William Hubbard, chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, said of the program.
The university’s original site built 200 years ago was quite small by comparison with today’s sprawling campus. But it was contained within the buildings that ring the historic Horseshoe. As the university expanded after World War II, it began moving into surrounding neighborhoods and one building bore little resemblance to those around it.
Hubbard’s committee is developing the guidelines that would establish an architectural and landscaping style that would be used campuswide.
“We just have one chance to get it right,” Hubbard said. “Once the buildings go up, it’s very hard to change them.”
Hubbard said the goal is not to make every building look exactly the same, but to look similar enough to be recognized as USC buildings.
In the past 10 years, the board has tried to combine a historic feel with modern building techniques and features.
Some buildings that fit that new design ideal are the National Advocacy Center, the South Quad residence hall and the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center.
Trustees, though, said this week they want to expand the color palette and insert enough diversity so the campus doesn’t look like a military base.
“Do we really want a pastel campus?” trustee Mark Buyck asked.
But the standards go beyond building color and include size about five stories as opposed to high rises and landscaping oaks are preferred.
“We want to keep our new buildings on a human scale no more than three to five stories,” Hubbard said.
Chief financial officer Rick Kelly acknowledged that the size might be dictated a little by the value of the land a building sits on, which is increasing rapidly in the Congaree Vista area of the city where the university’s Innovista section is going up.
Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com
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