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International Design Competition


Designing Our History: An International Ideas Competition

This competition seeks designs for a heritage-based public space that address the question:

How can the design of a public space celebrate the battles and triumphs of the community founders, offer homage to the region’s cultural history, and create a deeper shared understanding of Scanlonville?

Scanlonville, founded after the Civil War just outside Charleston, S.C., was conceived from a vision of freed men with the right to live in dignity and community on their own land. John Scanlon, who was once enslaved, purchased a 614-acre plantation in 1868 as the Charleston Land Company, which sold lots for residential and farming use. 

The community created a thriving, close-knit neighborhood with opportunities to socialize, shop, learn, and do business. Home to Riverside Beach, one of the area’s few black beaches, Scanlonville hosted musicians such as Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, and James Brown.

Recently, Scanlonville lost ownership of a parcel at 5th Avenue and Mathis Ferry, but after protracted negotiations, the land was deeded back to the community. The East Cooper Civic Club, which led the effort to regain the lost land, is now spearheading its conversion into a heritage park. 

We strongly encourage proposals from diverse teams who can explain why this project speaks to them. International submissions are welcome as are student submissions. While diverse teams are encouraged, individuals may also register and submit.

Finalists will be selected by a jury of professional designers and the elected leaders of the East Cooper Civic Club will choose first, second and third place submissions.

The Jury will be under the leadership of Charleston architect Ray Huff and includes renown practitioners:

  • Mario Gooden, AIA. 
    Architect, Huff+Gooden Architects, New York. Professor of Practice at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University.
  • Toni Griffin 
    Urban Planner, Urban Planning for the American City, New York. Professor in Practice of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
  • Ray Huff, FAIA
    Architect, Charleston. Emeritus Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Clemson University. Director of Clemson Design Center, Charleston.
  • Paul Peters 
    Landscape Architect, Hood Design Studio, Oakland. 
  • Seb Choe
    Associate Director, JSA/MIXDESIGN, New York City.

Due to the COVID-19 Virus, competition submission will now be due in Fall 2020. As soon as the specific date is determined we will update here and to anyone currently registered. For those wanting to submit early, please contact

  • Registration for all student team submissions prior is $25.
  • Registration for non-students or mixed student-professional team submissions is $40.

Click here to register now.



• Jan 10, 2020            Registration opens
• March 30, 2020        Reduced Fee Registration deadline

         Revised calendar to be determined.

Click here to find the Competition Brief for the Scanlonville International Design Competition.




Byrd, Caitlin. “National Database Seeks to Protect Hundreds of Black Burial Grounds in South Carolina.” Post and Courier, The Post and Courier, 3 Mar. 2019. 

Lesemann, T. B. Hidden Heritage: The community of Scanlonville fights to protect its history and cemetery. Charleston City Paper, 2 July 2008. 

Norris, J. 2019. Equity in Urban Ecological Planning. Leaf Litter Newsletter, Biohabitats. Volume 17:2. 

Slade, David. “A Planned Memorial Park in Mount Pleasant Leads to Acrimony with Racial Overtones.” Post and Courier, The Post and Courier, 21 June 2018

Nathanson, J. 2008. Bin Yah. A Documentary Film. The Cut Company, Charleston SC.

A Living History: The Story of Scanlonville.

Competition Sponsors:

East Cooper Civic Club, formed in 1969, has a mission to “promote racial harmony, health, education and civic improvements in Scanlonville.” They are the leaders of the Design competition.  

Charleston Audubon has served as a partner to the East Cooper Civic Club since the park land was in dispute and is now a fiscal sponsor of the competition.

The Master of Resilient Urban Design Program is part of the Clemson Design Center, located in Charleston’s Cigar Factory. As competition sponsors, they offer technical advice in the administration of the competition.