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147 Wappoo Creek Drive, Suite 400
Charleston SC 29412




Rebel Girls Celebration at Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Mez Joseph

Don't miss the Rebel Girls Celebration at the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry!! This Saturday March 10, from 9am – 11am.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is a book that reinvents fairy tales and inspires girls (and boys!) with the stories of 100 extraordinary women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. We’re celebrating Women’s History Month with a celebration of our own “rebel girls.” Bring your little rebel girl or rebel boy and join us for a meet-and-greet with some Rebel Girls characters from the book and some of Charleston’s own rebel girls!

Children are encouraged (but not required!) to bring their favorite stuffed animal. Our friends at Patrick Veterinary Clinic are bringing their own “rebel girl”-veterinarian to do stuffed animal check-ups!


Growing Home | Design Institute Design Challenges

Mez Joseph


By Meredith Schwartz

Librarians from around the country convened on October 20 in Washington State, at Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s (FVRL) Vancouver Community Library (VCL). The building, a 2015 LJ New Landmark Library (NLL), serves as gathering place and convener for the midsize city (population about 175,000 as of 2016) that is also the largest suburb of neighboring Portland, OR, just across the river. Designed to evolve with changing community needs, the building exemplifies the day’s themes from start to finish.


The first panel, Community Engagement 360°, took a deep dive into how to engage all of a library’s many stakeholders in the process of planning a new or renovated library (something FVRL engaged in with VCL), bringing along even skeptics, and how to translate that input into the design. Panelists Jennifer Charzewski, principal at Liollio Architecture, and Dennis Humphries, principal at Humphries Poli Architects, were led by moderator Amy Lee, FVRL public services director.

The panelists suggested the first step is to start not with the existing building but with how the library wants to be seen in the community—as a leader, enabler, dreamer, or disrupter. Charzewski took the concept a step further, advising libraries to “develop a brand or identity as the result of the story of who they are and have it be inseparable from the community.”

While community conversations and focus groups are important, both noted the use of alternative methods to ensure that all voices get heard. Charzewski drew on her experience working on the St. Helena Branch Library, Beaufort County, SC, another 2015 NLL, to recommend passing out cameras for community members to take pictures of things that are important to them and holding an open mic night to collect stories (with a ringer or two in the audience to get things going). One man brought a picture of his grand­father sewing a net, a dying craft, which ultimately informed the woven nautilus feature of the final design; another told a story of community sing-a-longs, with stomping on the wood floor. When the library opened, a resident who had attended the meeting hit her cane on the floor, which was elevated so it resonated, and said, “Wow, you guys listened.”

 (l.-r.): The setting was FVRL’s Vancouver Community Library; public art of verbs defining what patrons can do at the library literally lined the walls inside; where challenges were chosen.  Photos by Kevin Henegan

(l.-r.): The setting was FVRL’s Vancouver Community Library; public art of verbs defining what patrons can do at the library literally lined the walls inside; where challenges were chosen. Photos by Kevin Henegan

Humphries prescribed taking locals “on an adventure to look at library and nonlibrary spaces so they don’t stick with what is familiar. Focus on what is unique to them, but think outside the box.” He also advocated documenting on Post-its “so everyone has the same voice instead of having some speakers dominate,” then reading them back so they feel heard.

Charzewski urged librarians to include their design team in the feedback-gathering process and to go where the community is, since often the power users who attend forums don’t “represent the broad spectrum of [patrons]” let alone, as Lee pointed out, community members who don’t yet use the library, a demographic Lee said FVRL tried hard to reach during the design process.

Setting up a booth at a farmer’s market and using dot voting and Sharpie markup of images from other spaces, said Charzewski, garnered a broader range of input, as did reaching out to neighborhood associations and review boards to gather info and create a sense of ownership. Other tools included giant question dice and directed storytelling—have a toolkit with a variety of options for engaging community members, she advised. She also proposed keeping the documentation to show later to politicians.

Despite the diversity of opinions gathered through such a process, Charzewski reassured attendees that common themes do rise to the top, such as “cabin in the woods” for one library she worked on and “revitalizing a blighted neighborhood,” for another. “Stories…become the guiding lights for the project.” Local materials, too, can serve as touchstones.

Humphries offered an example: the phrase “the planes and the plains” to describe what was special about a particular community arose through the public input process for a library on which he worked. A constituent made a call and was able to get the cockpit of a 737 donated to the library, and though it is in the kids section, it has become the library’s most popular feature for adults as well.

He also reminded attendees to seek local input not only about what to change but what to keep the same, particularly in cases of renovating a beloved iconic facility. For instance, he said, when renovating a building designed by ­Michael Graves, he sought to “find out what people cherished” about the existing structure—and found it was not what he expected. Humphries also urged librarians to include homeless patrons in these conversations and to remember that small ideas are as important as big ones.

 1. FVRL executive director Amelia Shelley (l.) welcomed librarians. 2. Amy Lee (r.) moderated a panel on translating deep community engagement into design with Humphries Poli’s Dennis Humphries (l.) and Liollio’s Jennifer Charzewski.  Photos by Kevin Henegan

1. FVRL executive director Amelia Shelley (l.) welcomed librarians. 2. Amy Lee (r.) moderated a panel on translating deep community engagement into design with Humphries Poli’s Dennis Humphries (l.) and Liollio’s Jennifer Charzewski. Photos by Kevin Henegan

An audience member asked how to resolve the disconnect between features that residents like in theory but don’t use in practice, such as whiteboards. Both architects recommended rapid prototyping. In one example Humphries cited, a library built its service desk out of plywood and kept changing it as it was used until a design that was sure to work was reached.


Another major theme of the day was sustainability, as befitted VCL’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold–certified setting. Patti Southard, program manager for the “GreenTools” building program in King County, WA, delivered a keynote on transforming our environment through regenerative design. Southard emphasized connecting environmental considerations to equity and social justice, citing King County’s strategic plan, impact review tool, training, and scorecard and its partnership with Miller Hull to develop equity training for architects. She laughingly commiserated with attendees about this new item on an already ambitious agenda: “in addition to everything else you have to do, you now have to combat fascism.” But, she said, it’s important and, in collaboration, achievable. “We’re in it together, y’all.”

She also spoke on the Living Building Challenge, saying “it’s an advocacy tool and it really is a challenge” to push past minimal damage or even zero damage goals to aim for buildings that make things better. Southard said the water and energy components of the challenge are reachable; “the biggest challenge is finding materials that are toxin free.” But, she said, we must “balance easy wins with pushing the envelope” because the role of libraries as examples for others to follow is important for the good of all.

Following Southard’s inspirational presentation, Amelia Shelley, FVRL executive director, led a panel on Smart Sustainability featuring Jeff Davis, principal, Arch Nexus, and Chris Noll, principal, Noll & Tam Architects. The primary focus was on people—specifically staff and patrons who will use the building.

 1. Tech Logic’s Anthony Frey answered questions about automatic materials handling and offered a case study. 2. Panels and presentations took center stage in the Columbia Room.  Photos by Kevin Henegan

1. Tech Logic’s Anthony Frey answered questions about automatic materials handling and offered a case study. 2. Panels and presentations took center stage in the Columbia Room. Photos by Kevin Henegan

Davis suggested Inhabit, a tool that trains those in the building on how their behaviors impact energy usage. There are also tools that help with energy conservation, such as lights that let staff know when to override the HVAC and open the windows. Noll emphasized the importance of training a broad range of staff, not just a few key facilities point people, saying the latter are usually “pretty forward thinking and willing to buy in; the problem comes at the back end.”

Davis also said solar panels are a good return on investment as costs are coming down and suggested focusing on the areas around the windows and where the roof meets the wall—libraries can even implement “envelope commissioning” to see how those spaces are performing.

Davis and Noll both emphasized the importance of daylighting. “Not just sticking a skylight in anywhere and calling it daylighting but thinking it through to maximize light and minimize heat” through complex modeling computer programs, said Noll. Water conservation is a tougher sell because it doesn’t save libraries much off the bottom line, he added, but at least in drought-prone places such as California, consciousness has been raised. Davis concurred. “If you think about the costs of conveying it to your building and away, those are huge costs. It gives the community a return on investment,” he said, even if it doesn’t show up in the library budget specifically. However, some green features don’t deliver a good ROI, even though they help a building qualify for LEED status. Davis recommended skipping electric car charging stations. “Nobody uses them,” he said. Noll said the same of employee showers (which count as sustainable because, in theory, they encourage employees to walk, run, or bike to work rather than drive).

 1. Keynote speaker Patti Southard from Washington State’s King County GreenTools shared thoughts on regenerative design. 2. Lunch was served at Fort Vancouver’s nearby historic Red Cross Building. 3. Attendees carved out a separate space for teens during Puyallup PL’s challenge session.  Photos by Kevin Henegan

1. Keynote speaker Patti Southard from Washington State’s King County GreenTools shared thoughts on regenerative design. 2. Lunch was served at Fort Vancouver’s nearby historic Red Cross Building. 3. Attendees carved out a separate space for teens during Puyallup PL’s challenge session. Photos by Kevin Henegan


The final panel of the day addressed how libraries can create buildings that can change with the times, how to implement change to even recently constructed buildings—and how to sell stakeholders on the necessity of such changes without fostering the perception that the original plan was a mistake. Meredith Schwartz, executive editor, LJ, moderated a panel featuring Ruth Baleiko, partner, Miller Hull Partnership; David Schnee, principal, Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning; and David Wark, principal, Hennebery Eddy Architects.

“A building is not something you finish but something you start,” said Wark. Within a building, each system has its own life span, leading to short- and long-term alterations. In addition, he said, buildings must respond to external factors, such as the continued expansion of tech and, particularly in the Northwest, sheer population growth.

Baleiko added, “It’s not if your building will be renovated but when.” She cited Bruce Ziegman, former FVRL director, who built VCL, as saying, “This has to be a 100-year building—the most flexible chassis to change after we’ve gone.”

Specifically, Baleiko suggested fewer columns, better sight lines, and raised floors as gifts to librarians’ successors to allow easy relocation of shelving, power, and lighting. “Embrace the idea that people after you need to be nimble” and respond to users.” And what are those users likely to ask for? According to Schnee, the basics: “more power, more data, more seats.”

 1. Discussing adaptable design were Hennebery Eddy Architects’ David Wark, Group 4 Architecture’s David Schnee, and Miller Hull’s Ruth Baleiko. 2. Chris Noll from Noll & Tam (l.) and Jeff Davis from Arch Nexus talked smart sustainability. 3. Charzewski shared her expertise during the speed sessions.  Photos by Kevin Henegan

1. Discussing adaptable design were Hennebery Eddy Architects’ David Wark, Group 4 Architecture’s David Schnee, and Miller Hull’s Ruth Baleiko. 2. Chris Noll from Noll & Tam (l.) and Jeff Davis from Arch Nexus talked smart sustainability. 3. Charzewski shared her expertise during the speed sessions. Photos by Kevin Henegan

Community needs are constantly evolving, and by the time a new building comes to fruition, “new behaviors are starting to manifest,” Baleiko said. “That’s how the tweens [area] came about [at VCL]. We had to retool and carve out a space. The idea that any update means we failed is wrong. Change is more rapid now, and it’s a good thing.”

Schnee cited the Santa Clara Central Park Library, CA, as an example of a relatively recently remodeled library in need of an update. Its reading room, finished almost 20 years ago, featured a reference desk and periodicals collection. So, said Schnee, “we brought in drawing tables to replace the reference desk and got rid of the periodicals collections and put in a virtual reality gallery instead.”

Schnee urged attendees to “take lessons from the hospitality and retail worlds. The public expects things to change. We have to tell them there’s a price tag for that."

To adapt to the evolving needs of their own users, attendees applied the lessons of the day in breakout design sessions (see p. 38ff.) and brought their own challenges to the architects through speed sessions. For those who want to know more, join us at the next Design Institute, in Salt Lake City, April 26–27.

LibraryJournal's "Interactive Public Art & the Maker Mentality" Webcast with Liollio & 3branch

Mez Joseph

Maker spaces come in all shapes and sizes – but they can also extend outside of a physical space and exist throughout the library, with programming and design innovation. The maker mentality goes beyond a list of gadgets – by its very nature it must be open-ended, flexible, and customizable.  Approaching maker programming through this lens can help any library expand their customers’ experience – with or without a big renovation or construction project!

Join this webcast to hear Liollio and 3branch discuss how a public art program can engage library users in maker activities, ways the “maker mentality” can break out of a single space and go mobile, and furniture solutions that can be programming assets for makers.

Jennifer Charzewski, AIA, Principal, Liollio Architecture
Joe Frueh, Vice President, 3branch

Rebecca Jozwiak, Library Journal

Presented by: 3branch, Liollio Architecture & Library Journal

Event Date & Time: Tuesday, February 27th, 2018, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT

Registration Link

Happy Holidays From Liollio!

Mez Joseph

Happy Holidays from your friends at Liollio Architecture!
Our office will be closed Friday, December 22 through Tuesday, December 26, reopening Wednesday December 27. We will also be closed Monday, January 1st for New Year’s Day.

Spotlight On: David Herrero, Associate AIA

Mez Joseph

 A native of La Ceiba, Honduras, David moved to the US to pursue an education in Architecture. After completing undergraduate studies at Clemson University he worked at the Design Division under the City of Charleston’s Planning Director, Jacob Lindsey. David joined the Liollio team earlier this year. We recently sat down for a little Q&A with our December Spotlight On feature.

How long have you lived in Charleston?
I’ve lived in Charleston on and off between college and work for close to two years.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in La Ceiba, Honduras. La Ceiba is a small coastal city on the northern Caribbean coast of Honduras. La Ceiba has been historically connected to Southern U.S. coastal cities through maritime trade and a lot of architectural elements found in cities like Charleston or New Orleans are still present there.

Are you married? Do you have children?
No & No

What is your favorite thing in your house?
My outdoor piazza. It’s a great place to relax when the weather is nice here in Charleston. Being able to open the windows from my living room and listening to music out on the piazza is a great way to spend an afternoon at home.

What do you like to do when you have free time?
I like to play tennis whenever I get the chance. I’m also a runner and enjoy running from my place down to the battery.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
There was a rupture of the sprinkler system at Clemson over the architecture library. A few of us were there past midnight working and found out about it. There was an inch of water on the ground by the time we got there and the ceiling tiles were starting to sag with weight. We rolled up our pants and spent the next hour taking out as many books as we could save. We managed to save a lot of irreplaceable material and got a letter from the president for it.

What building have you visited that most impressed you?
The OMA Seattle Public library has been one of my favorite buildings that I’ve gotten to see recently. I was really impressed of how the famous section diagram that we see everywhere about it actually translates to the built space.

What architect or architecture firm most influenced you as a student?
When I was in undergrad, Bjarke Ingles was reaching his heyday as a starchitect. I can’t think of any other architect that influenced our generation as much as he has.

What is your favorite country you have traveled to and why?
I’ve always have been very fond of Spain. I grew up going there over the summers to visit family and I have a lot of good memories of those summers. My dad’s hometown is a small medieval town in the center of Spain and people there still live the way people have lived for thousands of years. It was very refreshing to immerse in that lifestyle for a little bit of my time.

What is your favorite thing about working at Liollio?
I really love the work atmosphere in the office. I think the studio truly works as a team in a very supportive manner. There’s also an expectation of excellence in the work that is produced that I think is very encouraging on a daily basis.

What inspires you most?
I love to learn why things happen the way they do. I’m a history nerd and I enjoy learning about the way our work has affected the built environment and our cities. I want to be able to understand what we can do as a profession to help alleviate some of the problems we face in the world. I don’t think you can do that without first understanding what we’ve done in the past that has had unintended consequences on society.

What style of architecture most impresses you or is your favorite?
I prefer architecture that relates to our senses, not necessarily a certain style. I think there’s a time and place for most type of architecture but the really successful architecture is one that focuses on the experience of place. In an urban setting for example, this experience is achieved by the collective spaces and textures of more than one building.

What is your favorite book?
The Death & Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs

What is your favorite restaurant?
I love CO on King Street.

What’s your favorite place in Charleston?
For hanging out with friends, probably Kudu Coffee, though I can’t think of many places as special as The Cistern at College of Charleston. As for nature, I love Morris Island Lighthouse and inlet.

What is your favorite food?
Thai or Vietnamese

What is your least favorite food?
I can’t handle beets.

Do you play any instruments?
I played the clarinet for a few years.

Favorite television show?
Game of Thrones (of course!)

What’s your astrological sign?

Last movie you watched?
Star Wars: Rogue One

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Masada/Jerusalem. It’s hard to describe what makes these places so special. There’s something about the humble appearance of the landscape and city but the knowledge that so much of human history was built in that place that makes it a very special experience. Masada is the most impressive archeological site I’ve ever seen.

What is the proudest moment of your life, thus far?
When my teammate and I were nominated for the Harlan E. Mclure Award.

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

What does true leadership mean to you?
I think a true leader should be able to inspire others to do good work without having to demand good work. A leader’s own work and the way they carry themselves should set a level of excellence that others should hope to achieve.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I would enjoy being a film director.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
To enjoy my teen years more than I did, relax and get out more.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Not to draw with a scale ruler. 

Gifford Rosenwald School on U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Mez Joseph

Hampton County Gifford Rosenwald School was approved by the South Carolina Historic Preservation Board of Review for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places on July 28, 2017. On October 4, notification was received from the SC Department of Archives and History that Gifford Rosenwald School was approved to be on the National Register. Properties on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places are the federal government’s list of historic properties worthy of preservation or protection.

Since the discovery of the school’s national importance, much support has come from the local community. Faith Temperance Deliverance Ministry, Gifford Rosenwald School Reunion Committee, Gifford Town Council, Hampton County Council, SC State Department of Archives and History and the National Parks Service have all contributed to the effort. Community organizations and businesses such as the Arnold Fields Community Endowment, Hampton County Council, Lowcountry Council of Governments, Brunson Building Supply, Liollio Architecture, Representative William K. Bowers and the office of SC Senator Tim Scott are only a few organizations, businesses and political support that made this a reality for Hampton County.

Since the school is now nationally recognized, this will hopefully open federal and state grant opportunities, as well as influence local private philanthropic organizations to contribute to the restoration and preservation of the Gifford Rosenwald School.

Donations to preserve and restore the Gifford Rosenwald School can be sent to the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, 4 Northridge Drive, Suite A, P.O. Box 23019, Hilton Head, SC, 29925 or online at https// Select the Arnold Fields Community Endowment Fund and the Gifford Rosenwald School Project Fund or call CFL at (843)681-9100.

Source: Hampton County Guardian (10.19.2017)

Richland Library St. Andrews Grand Opening

Mez Joseph

Liollio’s Angie Brose, Mary Tran, Greg Broadwater and Jennifer Charzewski recently enjoyed the Grand Opening festivities for the Richland Library St. Andrews branch in Columbia SC.

St. Andrews Library serves a vibrant community, with diverse interests ranging from gardening to guitar club to poetry slams and a focus on technology and career advancement.

The existing 13,000 SF library was fully renovated, and a 2,000 SF addition provides an expansive community meeting room connected to the garden, a maker space, increased computer access, collaboration studios and a new Career Coaching Center. Take a 360 virtual tour at!

The garden space wrapping the exterior of the library is a beacon within the Broad River Road Corridor and contains community planting beds, activity and event spaces, and a public art installation entitled The Band Shell (Artist: Jarod Charzewski, which allows the public to upload and play their own music or spoken word performances and acts as a stage for the library site.

St. Andrews Branch is one of ten projects comprising the $59M bond referendum passed by Richland County residents. Liollio has also had the honor of working on Ballentine and Blythewood, which opened this summer, and Wheatley Branch, which is currently under construction. The Liollio team includes Providence Associates library consulting, Margaret Sullivan Studio furniture consulting, Cox & Dinkins civil engineering, Stantec landscape architecture, Chao structural engineering, and RMF Engineering for mechanical, electrical and fire protection.  Construction Dynamics, Inc. served as the General Contractor for St. Andrews Library.

See more about all the Richland Library projects at

Children's STEAM: Young Architects

Mez Joseph

We always love the opportunity to introduce kids to the world of architecture and design.
— Jennifer Charzewski, Principal

Liollio’s Jennifer Charzewski, Liz Corr and Mary Tran participated in the Full STEAM Ahead Program: Young Architects at the Charleston Main Library on November 14, 2017.

November is Native American Indian Heritage Month and Liollio’s program aimed to teach the young architects about architecture through vernacular housing types and the ways people built shelters with the materials from their environment. Different vernacular housing types were shown, and they discussed how groups of people respond to different climates. such as, keeping wind out and warm air inside in cold climates, using the sun for passive heating, and being naturally ventilated with breezes in hot humid climates.

The young architects then sketched a vernacular housing type for a location of their choosing and constructed a model of it. Materials such as sticks, clay and fabric were used to make Igloos, Tipis, earth huts, and many other innovative and imaginative structures.