Practicing In (Of) Place

To practice architecture in the South is to work and walk amongst the ghosts of days gone by. Our story, and our history, is rich, complicated, difficult, beautiful, evolving- and, at every stage, deeply rooted in our sense of place. In every endeavor, it is imperative that we operate with a with a healthy respect for, and understanding of, “the past.” Our memories run and cut long and deep.

Our design culture is no different. Our buildings must reflect an authentic relationship to our communities. Architecture bridges the gap between our shared and complex history, our present opportunities and challenges, and our vision for a vibrant future. Some cities have codified the relationship of our buildings to the past through Boards of Architectural Review; the first of these in the United States was established in Charleston in 1931. These Boards sought to preserve “visible reminders of the historical and cultural heritage of the city, the state, and the nation,” and they have been vital to historic preservation efforts in cities throughout the country.

Our cities, however, must also adapt in order to grow, thrive, and meet the needs of each new era. The original notion of the “New South” – loosely defined as an attempt to prescribe an attractive future based on a growing industrialized economy versus the constraints of a primarily agrarian one – has been achieved. Today, the concept of a “Newer” South is a reality; the region is a dynamo of the national economy and it outperforms most regions of the country.

LS3P has been at the forefront of this most recent chapter of the Southeast’s economic growth. In 2018, over 20 percent of the nation’s GNP was generated in the Southeast – the highest percentage out of the country’s eight regions. We now work in states where the annual GNP equates that of entire countries. In this Newer South, we have achieved the initiative to move the economy forward, and we are now in an era of explosive growth and change. This exciting era offers immense opportunity, even as it rubs up against the history and fabric of our communities.

Working in the Southeast over decades of practice, LS3P has matured in each and every one of our eight locations. Each of our offices is as diverse as the region and as welcoming as a front porch wave. We are united not only by our commitment to the Southeast region, but also by our underlying principles:  our respect and understanding of history, our embrace of the “Newer South” and our commitment to the continued advancement of our communities through architecture.

Each of LS3P’s offices has its own long and storied history of community engagement and service to our respective communities. Our eight locations range geographically, from Raleigh to the north and Savannah to the south, Wilmington to the east and Greenville, SC to the west.  We reside in small towns and in large cities, and topographically from the Piedmont to the coast. This diversity is our strength and it fuels a design process best described as “one without ego.” As a result, there is no prescription of style.

As the practice of architecture accelerates, we as a profession have become seemingly more comfortable with the notion of remoteness, evidenced in more electronic Zoom meetings (even before the onslaught of Covid-19) as opposed to “face-to-face” meetings, as when clients and municipalities bringing experts in from afar to study issues or design projects and the push to “export” design. Even in this changing context, however, LS3P adheres to our principle of engaged, community-centric architecture. Recent examples of our work in this vein include:

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU ICAR), Greenville, SC: a 250-acre campus which represents a high seminary of learning in the field of automotive engineering supporting South Carolina’s highly successful automotive cluster

Wando Library, Mt Pleasant, SC: designed with real community input, honoring the history and traditions of the sweetgrass basket weavers (Gullah) and our environment, from the waterways to the woodlands.

Tru Colors Brewery, Wilmington, NC: a project which unites gang members around a shared community purpose to create, significant, substantive changes through creative problem solving from socio-economics to personal transformations

Live Oak Bank, Wilmington, NC: a headquarters campus for a banking institution which transforms the workplace for both its employees and the small business owners the company serves nationwide

While we as a firm continue to explore our “culture of design,” we are cognizant that we need to champion a principled approach to problem solving rooted in history, regionalism, and contextualism. With each new project, we build upon our shared history and work together towards a thriving future.

About Brian

As Firmwide Design Leader, Brian contributes decades of diverse architectural design experience.  His expertise lies in architectural design and design representation.  He is often tasked with sketching and conceiving project schemes during design charettes and in meetings with the owner.  As a leader of the firm’s Alchemy team dedicated to elevating the practice of design, Brian contributes his design acumen on projects of all types and from every studio.

Before joining LS3P, Brian was an Associate with the Philadelphia firm of Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, Inc. (VSBA), where he was involved with many of the firm’s most prestigious commissions, including a government complex in Toulouse France; renovations to the Barnes Art Foundation; and a Central Fire Headquarters for the City of Trenton, NJ.  His VSBA experience included several invited international design competitions, including a new cathedral in Los Angeles and new U.S. Embassy in Berlin.

Brian has been honored with numerous design awards.  He has taught classes in Design Representation at Clemson University and has served as a visiting critic/lecturer and studio professor at several universities over the course of his career. His design work and drawings have been featured in Architectural Record and Progressive Architecture magazines.