McMillan Pazdan Smith is currently designing a nature discovery center and event space directly adjacent to the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary and downtown Walterboro, SC. The project includes the renovation of a 1960’s car dealership that the City purchased in 2012. There is approximately 7,000 SF of conditioned space as well as an outdoor “learning lab,” wood deck, adjacent garden lawn, and amphitheater. The learning lab acts as an outdoor classroom and provides a screened porch/entry to the space. In lieu of trying to significantly change the existing exterior (which would have been prohibitively expensive) to create a “landmark” in the city, the front of the building was wrapped with a new screening element to expand its street presence, create a vertical element at the entrance, and tie the mid-century building design into the more traditional courthouse design across the street. The screening element also effectively expands the usable square footage of the building by creating covered exterior space.
The deck off the back of the building provides a visual connection down the axis of the site to the amphitheater below. The significant slope of the site (approximately 30’ of grade change) provides the perfect opportunity for an amphitheater with minimal earthwork. The amphitheater is tucked neatly into the landscape with native grasses and shade trees planted nearby. The shade structure also has power, lighting, and changing rooms to accommodate performers and events.