Skip to content
CityLab
Design

A Patriotic Museum Meets Suburban Resistance

The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation was shocked earlier this year when its Moshe Safdie-concieved proposal was rejected by a local planning commission for being too tall.
Moshe Safdie's proposed National Medal of Honor Museum was denied by the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant because it would exceed by 75 feet the elevation limit on land zoned for no more than 50 feet. A new concept will be unveiled later this month.
Moshe Safdie's proposed National Medal of Honor Museum was denied by the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant because it would exceed by 75 feet the elevation limit on land zoned for no more than 50 feet. A new concept will be unveiled later this month. Safdie Architects

It isn't often that architect Moshe Safdie is sent back to the drawing board. But that's exactly what happened earlier this year when his soaring vision for the National Medal of Honor Museum clashed with a local height ordinance.

In late January, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation was shocked when the planning commission in the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, unanimously denied its Safdie-concieved proposal because it would exceed by 75 feet the elevation limit on land zoned for no more than 50 feet. The decision was forwarded to town council for review with a recommendation to disallow. Suddenly this picturesque community, defined by shrimp boats and sprawling marshes, was steeped in controversy over the fate of a hugely significant edifice with limitless potential as a tourist attraction.