April 24, 2008 (CHARLESTON, SC) — Raleigh, NC-based architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, joined the Circular Congregational Church Building Committee Thursday, April 24, in Charleston when the Historic Charleston Foundation presented the group with the Robert N.S. and Patti Foos Whitelaw Founder Award for the completely “green” Sunday School facility he designed.
The addition to the church on Meeting Street – the oldest church in Charleston – was carefully sited on an isolated section of the historic churchyard. Its “green” features include a vegetated roof, geothermal heating and cooling system, a rainwater collection cistern for landscape use, recycled building materials wherever possible, open-air porches, and window placement to maximize natural lighting and ventilation. According to Harmon, the church leaders and congregation not only welcomed sustainable design and environmental stewardship, they demanded it.
Whitney Powers, a Charleston-based architect and a member of the church’s Building Committee, said the new Sunday School addition “is a demonstration of our stewardship. It was incumbent upon us to do this.”
The addition has been featured in Faith & Forum, the American Institute of Architects’ journal on liturgical architecture, and on AIArchitect.com.
The Whitelaw Award was created 10 years ago to recognize individuals, groups or government entities for the long-term protection and preservation of important building and places as well as those involved with preservation advocacy in Charleston. The Foundation praised the Building Committee for “hiring consultants and archaeologists to minimize the effects on the historic graveyard and in utilizing sustainable technologies in the construction of the new building.”
The award was presented during a ceremony at the First Baptist Church, followed by a reception in the garden of the Russell House at 51 Meeting Street.