Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston Gateway, Lowcountry Stories

In the simplest architectural terms, the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion is a ten-story patient tower, outfit with rooftop helipad, and adjacent four-story diagnostic and treatment podium. There are, on the other hand, no simple terms for the unrivaled approach to obstetric and pediatric health and well-being delivered throughout the brand-new facilities. Our responsive design supports innovative care inside, provides for floodplain resilience, and fulfills MUSC’s vision to serve as a grand gateway and good neighbor for Charleston.

The sail-like all-glass south façade welcomes travelers into the city as they descend off the expressway bridge. A grove of trees then greets visitors as they approach the new tower, offering a first glimpse of the city’s beloved network of civic gardens. Turn left at the trees and you arrive at the entrance piazza and motor portico. It’s MUSC’s wraparound porch, inviting everyone into the hospital’s public gallery, where each floor expresses a Lowcountry theme appropriate to its programmatic identity.

Interior moments of delight reflect a program tailored to the sensitivity spectrum of children and women facing a range of challenges. We balanced playfulness in the common spaces with the comfort of views in the exam rooms. Clear wayfinding, lighting options, and varied seating offer calm and control to women working through high-risk pregnancies. On the seventh floor, the Child Life Play Atrium answers caregivers’ desire for biophilic respite and restoration. Custom installations by local artists and craftspeople are a further reminder that MUSC is rooted in Charleston’s communities.

Even in a state-of-the-art hospital, looking after your neighbors is a cherished Southern tradition.

A resilient urban green space enhanced by native species is accessible to patients, families, and the community.
One of the Most Spectrum-Friendly Hospitals in the Country

The exceptional rigor of the Charleston BAR’s process held us to the highest standards of creativity and execution. We listened thoughtfully to feedback from women and the parents of children on the autism spectrum. We listened to everyone from the hospital CEO and clinical leadership to staff, patients, and community volunteers.

We then used what we heard to create a building that fully prioritizes the needs and experiences of children and women. Standout features include the sensory room dedicated to neurodivergent needs and the roof garden, where play elements and native species deliver biophilic restoration to everyone who needs it.

Overlooking the Main Lobby, it was critical for the design team to create a space of calm and reduce environmental stressors throughout the interior.
Patient bedrooms were inspired by local beach houses, with wood floor, area rugs, simplicity of furnishings. These are designed to encourage children to decorate their own, with writable paint surface, shelves, and desk.
Black Charleston’s Legacy

We were very aware that our design had to honor the historic significance of the building MUSC was replacing: the McClennan-Banks Memorial Hospital. Founded in 1897 by Alonzo C. McClennan and Anna DeCosta Banks, it was Charleston’s first teaching hospital for African Americans. We saved the pilings that held up the razed building as they were pulled from the pluff mud and commissioned a local craftsperson to repurpose them into cypress paneling. The paneling is now featured in the main lobby and the Child Life play area on the roof garden.

Signature large porches, accented by columns and clad in the Gullah culture’s “spirit blue,” conjure refuge and protection in shaded outdoor living areas.
“Every design decision, from the architectural form to the art on the walls, has resulted in a building that could belong nowhere else.”

Manuel Cadrecha, Global Design Principal

Project Team

Leo Alvarez
Carolyn BaRoss
Jim Bynum
Manuel Cadrecha
Jeff Tyner