Located south of Charleston, Habersham provides the Lowcountry with a viable alternative to suburban sprawl. The town is positioned along an inlet less than a mile from the intracoastal waterway and continues the tradition of beautiful coastal towns. With its sizable town center, Habersham will serve as the urban hub for surrounding villages.
DPZ created the Master Plan and Code for Habersham in 1997. The architecture of the project respects the local vernacular, taking into account the expert methods employed by traditional designs for ventilation and cooling. These sustainable design methods, forgotten or ignored by conventional builders, are mandated by the architectural codes that accompany the plan.
The building types are designed and located on the plan according to their levels of urbanism. Along with the different street sections, the broad assortment of building types will provide a varied and authentic environment. This permits a single development to capture a wide variety of homebuyer market segments. In addition, the compatibility ensured by the code maintains high property values and the flexibility of switching to the most marketable building product without redesigning the entire plan.
The firm also employed environmental strategies into the plan that would later form its Light Imprint initiative. Seventy-three acres of the site have been preserved for parks, common areas and natural drainage basins. Mature vegetation along the marsh edge creates a natural windbreak and an inviting habitat for wildlife.
Stormwater management was a serious consideration for the development team. Most all the street paving in Habersham is asphalt, a relatively cost-effective and readily available material. Since the street widths vary from very narrow to multiple lanes, the traffic load determines the amount of pavement. Using narrower paved streets allows more vegetation to absorb runoff and to filter impurities from the runoff. Some streets have sidewalks on only one side further reducing the amount of paving. Wood planks are used to pave one of the bridges. Natural creeks crossing the site channel runoff to the marshes. This mitigates the need for catch basins and underground piping across the site. Swales with a combination of vegetation and gravel channel water away from the tennis courts, recreation areas and parking lots. Naturally occurring shallow marshes provide an inexpensive means of filtering runoff before it enters the aquifer or the Broad River. Green fingers of vegetation between structures are another means of filtering runoff. The most expensive filtration method used in Habersham is a constructed wetland. Even in the most urban areas, stormwater management is carefully considered. Many of the live-work and townhouse units have formal interior courtyards that utilize paver blocks with gravel and planted joints, while the parking lots behind the buildings use pervious gravel paving.
DPZ has served as Town Architect for Habersham, ensuring the implementation of the original vision for a sustainable Lowcountry community.
Winner of the 2004 Platinum Award in the Best in American Living (BALA) Competition, sponsored by Professional Builder magazine and the National Association of Home Builders.