LS3P Celebrates 15 Years of Design Excellence and Community Engagement in Columbia

Staff Report From Columbia CEO

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

LS3P’s Columbia office is celebrating15 years of design excellence, market expertise, and collaborative engagement in the Midlands. 

Under the leadership of Columbia native Mary Beth Sims Branham, AIA, the office was opened in 2004 to bring the firm’s diverse portfolio and depth of resources closer to clients on a local level.  Allen Taylor, AIA, LEED AP BD+ C, joined the Columbia office in 2005 as both Studio Leader and Operations and Finance Manager. Taylor, who is celebrating his 30th anniversary with LS3P this year, began his tenure with the firm in the Charleston office. The Columbia office has since grown to 16 architects, designers and staff managing projects throughout the Southeast.

Mayor Steve Benjamin notes the impact of the firm on the built environment of Columbia, saying, “As our city takes more ambitious steps towards becoming the world-class city we aspire it to be, LS3P has been instrumental in changing the landscape of the city we call home.”

LS3P has designed a number of signature projects in the Midlands:

In 2012, the Cannon Parking Garage opened on the corner of Taylor Street and Sumter Street to provide much-needed parking in the downtown area, bringing in commerce and shoppers alike and creating an economic turning point.  Recently Columbia’s Main Street received recognition by Fodor’s as one of the “Cutest Main Streets in Small Towns.”

The 2014 AllSouth Federal Credit Union Headquarters building, located at the entry to the city from I-126, transformed the area into one of the premiere gateways to the city.  “This new workplace environment created an atmosphere of collaboration and openness that enhances the experience of our staff and members,” explains Caroline Peck, the bank’s Facilities Manager.

The University of South Carolina Alumni Center, which opened in late 2015, was the first “home” for USC alumni in the more than 200-year history of the organization.  The U of SC Alumni Center is considered the most highly visible and most visited non-athletic building on the campus.  This facility, built for students, alumni, and friends, will serve for decades to come as a shining example of the momentum of the university.   On Thursday the U of SC Board of Trustees officially changed the name of the alumni center to the Pastides Alumni Center.

Segra Baseball Stadium, designed by LS3P in association with Populous, opened in early 2016. It was quickly named “Ballpark of the Year” by Ballpark Digest and rated the “No. 1 Ballpark Experience in the South Atlantic League” by Stadium Journey.  Benjamin recalls, “When the Fireflies Stadium was built in our Bull Street District, I saw this as the catalyst to ignite the city about the potential of the next growth area for our community.”

The award-winning Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2) opened in early 2017 and serves as a community hub to promote connectivity, flexibility, and sustainability, providing an environment that encourages lifelong learning. This multi-functional facility houses the Richland County Sandhill branch library, Richland Two’s District Office, a student learning center for advanced STEAM classes, and a conferencing center for professional development.

Sims Branham credits her clients for the ongoing growth of LS3P’s Columbia office. Sims Branham said, “It is a privilege to work with such a talented team and we are gracious for all the support from our amazing clients and partners over the past15 years. We look forward to more ways to make a difference in our community over the next 15 years and beyond.”  As a part of the anniversary celebration, LS3P’s Columbia office launched a weekly campaign highlighting LS3P projects and community engagement activities in the Midlands over the last 15 years.   To celebrate this anniversary in the spirit of “giving back,” the office has committed to raising $15,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) which will be capped off with the “Light the Night” walk at the State House on October 29th.