Charleston Architects' Redesign of Classic Marquee Makes National List

The Atlanta Cities names Sottile Theatre marquee as one of North America’s Most Distinctive

May 2, 2012 (Charleston, SC) –  The redesign of the Sottile Theatre marquee in downtown Charleston, SC, a collaboration of architects Whitney Powers and Sandy Logan, is included in The Atlanta Cities’ list of “North America’s Most Distinctive Theatre Marquees.”

The Sottile Theatre is a performing arts venue for the College of Charleston and the Charleston community. It opened in 1927, originally named the Gloria Theater, it served as both a vaudeville house and movie theater. It was designed as a smaller example of the great movie palaces of the era. "Gone with the Wind” premiered in South Carolina in the Gloria Theater in 1939.

The theater’s owners, the Sottile family and Pastime Amusement Company, dismantled the original marquee in 1951 and put a new one up. The theater closed in 1975 and the owners subsequently donated the building to the College of Charleston. After extensive renovations, the theater reopened in 1990 as the College’s performing arts center.

After a truck hit the second marquee, College leaders decided to replace it. The new marquee, which cost $107,000, is narrower than the original to avoid such accidents on Charleston's narrow downtown streets.

In December of 2010, the Charleston Post & Courier called the new marquee “a blast from the past.”Monica Scott, the college's vice president for facilities planning, said of Powers’ and Logan's redesign, "It's so classic. And it's spectacular at night."

College President George Benson told the Post and Courier,  “The marquee gives the college a presence on King Street, a bustling street with many shops and restaurants.”

“If you're into cities, urban history, or even typefaces, it's hard to ignore a theater marquee,” writes Mark Byrnes, a Fellow at The Atlantic Cities. “These architectural appendages have lured us into plays and movies for decades, but changing tastes and technologies have made them a more uncommon sight. As they become more rare, old marquees have taken on a deeper cultural meaning, frequently serving as visual anchors for a street or cultural district.”

Published by The Atlanta Media Company/Atlantic Magazine, The Atlantic Cities: Place Matters explores the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods. For more information:

Whitney Powers, AIA, is the founder and principal of Studio A, Inc. in Charleston. Studio A is an award-winning, full-service architecture firm that specializes in sustainable architecture and historic preservation/restoration, and adaptive re-use. For more information, visit

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, South Carolina. 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:

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