Charleston Waterfront Park Receives 2007 Landmark Award

Sasaki Associates designed beloved symbol of city’s transformation

Any given day, the park brings residents and visitors together at the edge of the river. Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley considers the park "this generation's greatest gift to the future." photo: Craig Kuhner.

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2007---The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have announced that Charleston Waterfront Park will receive the 2007 Landmark Award during the ASLA Annual Meeting, October 5-9, in San Francisco. 

A full description and photographs of the project are available online at: . A video on the project is available online at:

The Landmark Award recognizes a distinguished landscape architecture project completed between 15 and 50 years ago that retains its original design integrity and contributes significantly to the public realm of the community in which it is located.  Previous recipients include the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Golden Gate National Recreation Area near San Francisco, and the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.

As in many cities, Charleston’s waterfront suffered from a history of industrial use followed by abandonment. Charleston’s older port facilities on the Cooper River became obsolete and the marshland that had existed before industry intervened was ruined. The original surrounding neighborhoods, which had grown up around the early port economy, are among the most historic in the city. However, by the early 1980’s these areas were languishing and the waterfront itself had been given over to surface parking.

Designed by Sasaki Associates and completed in 1990,the 13-acre park established an important precedent for restoring the water’s edge for public use. The innovative design integrates significant sustainable and urban design ideas with the landscape architecture. Today, the park remains a catalyst for investment in the city, creating far more value than private development alone.

The jury called the park “simple, elegant, urbane” and said it “really works socially, is timeless, and is built to last.”  Jurors noted that “it jumpstarted the reclamation of downtown as we know it today and turned the city back to the water—just one instance of the exemplary public realm created over many years by Mayor Joe Riley.” 

Charleston’s Mayor Riley was credited with “making this project a reality; he used a public landscape to turn this city around and reclaim its waterfront.”

“The details are so beautifully thought out: it has the scale of a great urban promenade, the materials are appropriate, even the handmade brick provides both power and beauty,” the jury continued, declaring the park “a brilliant and durable addition to Charleston that just continues to get better and better.”

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America’s diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its Washington, D.C., headquarters staff, six regional offices, and 28 historic sites work with the Trust’s 270,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit the Trust’s Web site at .


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371