Local architectural firm receives design award for addition to Circular Congregational Church

Image by ©Richard Leo Johnson, courtesy Frank Harmon Architect PA The thoroughly "green" addition to the Circular Congregation Church in Charleston.

The new “green” Sunday school 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 Greenroofs.com. 

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 www.faithnform.com.

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