Studio A Shares Special Design Award for Charleston Church Addition

2010 Religious Art & Architecture Awards Announced


December 15, 2010 (CHARLESTON, SC) – The new “green” Sunday school

© Richard Leo Johnson

addition at the Circular Congregational Church on Market Street in downtown Charleston has received a design award in the “New Facilities” category from Faith & Form Magazine and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA). The building was designed by Frank Harmon Architect PA of Raleigh, NC, with Whitney Powers, AIA, of Studio A in Charleston, serving as primary consultant and building committee chair.


Powers was responsible for bringing in Frank Harmon, FAIA, a leader among the nation’s “green” architects, to design the structure. It was completed in 2007.


According to Powers, founder and principal of Studio A, the addition to the oldest church in Charleston was sensitively sited on an isolated section of the churchyard to lessen its intrusion on the cemetery there.


A thoroughly eco-friendly, or “green,” structure, the two-story, 3000-square-foot building includes 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.


The Sunday school building has received Honor Awards from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA NC) and AIA Triangle, a section of AIA NC. The building’s vegetated roof  — Charleston’s first green roof – has been featured on


Whitney Powers, AIA, Studio A, Inc.

Whitney Powers’ Building Committee also received the Historic Charleston Foundation’s Founders Award for the church’s addition.


According to the awards jury, the best liturgical architecture projects of the nearly 200 submitted “maintained a remarkable consistency throughout – from building exteriors, interiors, and furnishings, to the landscape.”


Faith & Form is the AIA’s quarterly interfaith journal on religion, art and architecture. The annual design awards program is co-sponsored by Faith & Form and the (IFRAA), a Knowledge Community of the AIA. The awards program was founded in 1978 to honor the best in architecture, liturgical design, and art for religious spaces. For more information on the IFRAA/Faith & Form awards, go to


About Studio A, Inc.:


Founded in 1989 by Whitney Powers, AIA, Studio A, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service architecture firm located in downtown Charleston, SC. The firm proposes that the responsibility of architecture is to cultivate a language of form that promotes a sustainable culture and landscape, and that touches the emotions of delight, surprise and wonder. From cutting-edge contemporary architecture to the preservation and restoration of historic homes, structures and sites, Studio A is committed to an interactive relationship between the natural and built environments, conservation of energy and natural resources, and an appreciation for a “sense of place” where living, working and playing are connected with the specific idiosyncrasies of culture, climate and natural landscape where they take place. For more information visit

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