DESIGN AND ENGINEERING—SALUDA SHOALS ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONFERENCE CENTERS
Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission
Seven Oaks, SC
Situated on almost 400 acres next to the Saluda River, the Saluda Shoals Regional Park Environmental Education and River Conference Centers brings together architectural elements appropriate for the scenic region, including stone, wood and glass. Woolpert provided planning, architecture and engineering for these much-needed instructional and conference facilities in a picturesque setting primed for environmental education.
To link the buildings’ visual and functional designs, the team applied a unifying architectural theme that included matching curved roof elements and a single materials palette. The mechanical systems balanced technology, energy efficiency and decorative lighting to properly serve users.
Woolpert designed the Environmental Education Center on a scenic knoll overlooking a tributary of the Saluda River. Large tree specimens surround the center and reflect the facility’s sustainability theme. Up to 90 students at a time can explore the learning patio and exhibit space and meander along trail networks for interactive lessons.
The River Conference Center offers the first facility in the area for conferences and receptions, with seating for up to 500 visitors. As a revenue generator for the park, the building offers moveable wall partitions for smaller groups and ample space for banquets. Catering is supported by two conveniently located kitchens, and outdoor patio spaces connect the interior to the exterior.
Planning for this project included public review sessions and meetings well attended by citizens from the area.