Design unveiled for new $50M MUSC building in downtown Charleston

MUSC expanding

The next College of Health Professions building at the Medical University of South Carolina will be a new, modern medical education facility in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Providing classrooms, laboratories, common spaces and support spaces for faculty, staff and students, the building will accommodate the university’s substantial growth in the professions of physical therapy, and occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology, according to a release from Clark Nexsen, which designed the building in collaboration with SMHa commercial architects.

The approximately 90,000 square-foot building will encompass six floors, according to the release. Housing the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology) and the Center for Rehabilitation Research in Neurological Conditions, the building features a variety of multipurpose classrooms. On the second, third, and fourth floors, large multipurpose educational spaces accommodate the physical/occupational therapy programs, allowing students to learn in a lab and classroom setting without having to go back and forth between the two spaces. The third floor also includes a human abilities lab, which simulates a patient’s living space to help students prepare for working with patients in real-life conditions, the release stated.

The building, which is expected to open in 2025, has a cost of $50 million, according to the release.

Natural light was incorporated heavily into the design as many employees don’t have windows in their current offices. (Rendering/Clark Nexsen)

Natural light was incorporated heavily into the design as many employees don’t have windows in their current offices. (Rendering/Clark Nexsen)Office spaces for faculty and staff, classrooms, and conference rooms are on the first through fourth floors. Natural light was incorporated heavily into the design as many employees don’t have windows in their current offices, the release stated. While the fifth and sixth floors are designed as shell spaces, Clark Nexsen is supporting MUSC with a grant proposal to upfit those floors, according to the release. Pedestrian walkways were also incorporated into the design, connecting the CHP building to the Bioengineering Building to the south and the future College of Medicine building to the north.

The design of the building is driven by the idea of movement, conveying through its aesthetic the work of the programs within to support people and restore physical movement, the release stated. Inspired by muscle fibers and their layers of thicker and thinner elements, the exterior features staggered vertical elements to express the idea of movement.

With stringent building requirements due to flooding in the area, the CHP building is built three feet above the floodplain, the release stated. For resiliency and to avoid possible flood damage, a penthouse will be located on the roof to house the mechanical and electrical equipment. Hurricane resistance will also be applied throughout the building to protect from high-velocity debris.

With physical therapy and occupational therapy enrollment expected to double within the next few years, MUSC’s new CHP building will accommodate the university’s expansive growth, according to the post.

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