Peter Frank Edwards Photographs

A developing master plan and agrihood has emerged in South Carolina’s renowned low country. Kiawah River encompasses over 2,000 acres and 20 miles of shoreline on Johns Island, a piece of land roughly 15 miles from the Charleston city center, and combines residential, retail, and hospitality offerings in a natural riverside setting.

Local developer The Beach Co. aims to create a green conservation community that employs principles of sustainability. Only half of the property’s 2,000 acres will be developed, with the remaining 1,000 acres existing as open green space, and the conservation will continue indefinitely through the formation of the Kiawah River Trust.

Courtesy The Beach Co.

The community features a variety of homesites for production, semi-custom, and custom dwellings. These homes are designed and built by members of Kiawah River’s Architect Guild and Builders Guild with a shared vision for sea island aesthetic and the community’s ideals of quality green building.

“There’s a lot of really appealing things about this project,” notes one juror. “It seems to be very cleverly done to get as many of the units on water as possible.” Another adds that it “feels stitched into its natural element.”

Some built amenities include a waterfront swim club and fitness center, an adventure outfitter, an events hall, and a riverfront lodge, while some natural amenities include Kiawah River Farm, a community-supported agriculture program, and a trail network through a maritime forest.