This competition is intended to challenge students in multi-disciplinary teams in the fields of architecture, preservation, landscape architecture, urban planning, engineering and other cross-disciplines, to rethink Castle Pinckney, an abandoned early nineteenth century fort situated on a coastal island within the Charleston, South Carolina harbor. 

THE CHALLENGE   Participants are asked to preserve and interpret the extant historic fabric as emblematic of the country’s early attempt to create a national defense system, and should re-imagine the site as an eco-tourist and educational destination. The island is being reformed into public space that boosts local character with the capacity for everyday or crowd-pulling events. Solutions should explore the issues of access, the relationship between preservation and design (both architectural and landscape), off-grid energy consumption, changing climate patterns, water management, land use, and habitat protection. Participants should investigate how the preservation of this historically significant site can provoke a profound rethinking of our current conventions about preservation, design, community, the environment, and heritage tourism. 

CASTLE PINCKNEY   Castle Pinckney, the oldest surviving fortification in Charleston, South Carolina, was built in 1809 on a small island in the city's harbor. It remains one of only three surviving examples of an American "castle," a rare type of transitional coastal fort, circular in form and lacking angular bastions. Due to lack of funding, Castle Pinckney has essentially languished in abandonment for over a century. Castle Pinckney is evocatively situated within the view shed of one of the nation’s most historic and well-preserved cities, yet its history and significance is virtually unknown to the citizenry at large. Respecting the natural beauty of the site along with the historic integrity of the fort, the design challenge is to identify a use for this former island fort, Confederate prison and now defunct lighthouse station.

Access to Shute’s Folly Island is by water. This access needs to accommodate small motor crafts, sailing vessels, kayaks, water taxis, harbor cruise boats, with multiple mooring stations along a landing pier or areas. 

A self-sustaining (off-the-grid) visitor service pavilion which contains information on the island, require no attendant or staff and no maintenance restroom facilities. 

A building, architectural structure, or platform designed and situated to take advantage of the scenic views of the Charleston, the harbor, Castle Pinckney, the island and nautical events in the harbour such as regattas. 

The evocative Lowcountry landscape should be crafted to create views, habitats, trails and activity areas. The island is flat and marshy and covered with low-growth vegetation.

The fort located on the far end of Shute’s Folly Island can be reinterpreted, reused, or left as an archeological site. The materials of the ruins should be protected and maintained. 

How will local residents and tourists use Shute’s Folly Island and Castle Pinckney? Consider: performance space, art installations, marine biology research, Costal Conservation / Rejuvenation, tourism, Ecological Preserve, fisherman huts, regatta watching platforms, lookouts, nautical and recreational activities, business premises for nautical events . . . 



The projects will be on view at the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting in Miami (April) and the American Institute of Architects 2014 AIA Convention in Chicago (June).