unabridged Architecture was awarded an Honor Citation from the American Institute of Architects, Mississippi Chapter, for EcoTech Park in Hancock County, Mississippi. The innovative master plan links economic development with environmental stewardship and illustrates a sustainable and resilient vision for the future of these industrial parks.
The Master Plan, prepared for the Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission, had three goals: use GIS-based spatial analysis to identify the optimal expansion sites at Port Bienville and Stennis International Airport; establish sustainable and resilient design guidelines for site and building development; and illustrate an innovative vision for high-performance industrial parks.
Consumers are demanding more sustainably sourced and processed products and corporate social responsibility efforts are increasing. However, little attention has been paid to design within the industrial zones where products are manufactured, even though they occupy large tracts which often include environmentally sensitive lands. Restoring the ecology of industrial zones establishes the conditions necessary for intensification of industrial development and this master plan expands the developable area within strict environmental limits addressing ecosystems, climate, and human health. The proposed new structures are characterized by low-carbon materials, energy and water efficiency, daylighting and views to the landscape. The project’s success positions these industrial parks as sites with innovative standards and the capacity to meet exceptional building-performance standards.
The jury cited “a convincing master plan that rigorously attempts the difficult balance of economic development with environmental stewardship. The scope of this plan goes far beyond the conventional idea of architecture and the jury believed it merited recognition for its analysis of a large tract of the county’s land in a serious and thorough exploration to identify the best sites for industrial development when considering such crucial factors as native habitat, climate resilience, and sustainability.”
Multiple stakeholders were consulted during the master planning process as an opportunity to share concerns about growth, improve the project guidelines, and reconnect industry to the community. Stakeholders included state regulators, cities, and county leadership as well as current tenants, public utility boards, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Gulf Regional Planning Commission, Hancock Chamber of Commerce, NASA John C. Stennis Space Center, and Pearl River Community College.
In addition to unabridged Architecture, Master Planning consultants included NVision Solutions for GIS analysis, Compton Engineering for civil and environmental engineering, and Depiction Illustration for the aerial rendering.