Equal Justice Initiative’s New Legacy Pavilion

Montgomery is known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement. So, it’s fitting that the Equal Justice Initiative – whose mission is to advance truth and justice in America and confront the legacy of slavery, lynching and segregation – is located in Alabama’s capital.

New to EJI is the Legacy Pavilion designed by Williams Blackstock Architects, which honors local civil rights figures and helps visitors understand the singular role Montgomery played in the nation’s civil rights movement that continues to reverberate worldwide. The site is located at the terminus of a downtown artery, which visually connects the building with the convention center in the heart of downtown Montgomery.

The pavilion serves as a welcome center for EJI’s Legacy Museum and its National Memorial for Peace and Justice a few blocks away, where over 650,000 people have visited in the last two years. The pavilion also includes exhibit space, ticket office, gift shop, coffee shop, a restaurant serving southern cuisine, parking and shuttles to the memorial and museum.

At the north end of the park is a reflection garden featuring a monument to the victims of lynching after the Civil War and during Reconstruction. The pavilion’s black granite fountain rises up from the ground to memorialize over 2,000 people who were lynched between 1865 and 1876. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice documents the era of lynching that occurred later, between 1877 and 1950.

The pavilion was once a windowless tilt-up concrete warehouse now transformed into an inspirational space. Here visitors can connect with an often-overlooked part of history that shaped the country. The design features a perforated stainless-steel floating façade with images of seven key civil rights figures from Montgomery, illuminated in tribute to their legacy. The design concept layers the site and building floor plan with a linear park that extends the full block. It serves as a forecourt to the building facing both downtown and the ballpark.

The building sits on a raised plinth, fronting the park with a porch extending the length of the building. Carved into the plinth is an interlaced composition of stairs, ramps and amphitheater-style seating that provides a place for visitors to reflect on what they have encountered at the EJI sites.

A perforated steel screen serves as a dynamic living sculpture that captures the changing natural light and flows across the park, porch and lobby. The lobby forms an interior “street” that extends along the porch and park where visitors can access tickets, the gift shop, coffee shop, restrooms and restaurant.

Floating above the lobby, porch and park are iconic civil rights figures looking out to the capital city where history was made. An interior mural wall extends the length of the lobby, which complements the images on the screen and provides a narrative that explains the important role of each civil rights figure.

Says Williams Blackstock Architect Jeremy Cutts: “It is both gratifying and humbling to have been a part of this project and contribute, even minutely, to the phenomenal work of the Equal Justice Initiative.”

“This sentiment, which was shared by the entire design and construction team, brought about a spirit of unity and commonality unlike any project I’ve experienced. It is precisely that spirit which we all hope will spread from this site, across the country and around the world.”

 

Image 1: The pavilion serves as a welcome center for the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice located nearby. A windowless tilt-up concrete warehouse was transformed into an inspirational and thought-provoking space.

Image 2: Visitors to the pavilion can enjoy a restaurant that serves southern-style cuisine. Exhibit space, a ticket office, gift shop and coffee shop are inside the pavilion.

Image 3: The site is located at the terminus of a downtown artery, which visually connects the building with the convention center in the heart of downtown Montgomery.

Image 4: The pavilion’s black granite fountain rises up from the ground to memorialize over 2,000 people who were lynched between 1865 and 1876.

Image 5: The Equal Justice Initiative’s legacy pavilion pays tribute to local civil rights figures and helps visitors understand the singular role Montgomery played in the nation’s civil rights movement. The new pavilion was designed by Montgomery-based Williams Blackstock Architects.

*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Williams Blackstock Architects

Cullman’s Warehouse District Streetscape Project to Begin

Solving one problem often leads to solving another. That’s how a plan came about to improve one of Alabama’s oldest historic sites – one in Cullman that dates to 1873. Cullman streets were torn up for a utility overhaul which provided a “great opportunity” for further improvements, notes Tony Renta of Renta Urban Land Design that created the project’s master plan.

The project to revitalize Cullman’s Warehouse District starts in June and should finish in September. About half the cost funded through a $640,000 grant from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), a federal program to improve downtown districts and meet ADA compliance. Hardscape improvements include parking, lighting and seating.

“The warehouse district has a certain charm because of its narrow streets and historic industrial architecture,” Renta observes. “Because the warehouse district houses a street section narrower than the rest of the city and houses mostly local merchants, the city wanted this district to hold onto its current charm while being more pedestrian friendly.”

The two-block area is closed to cars during events such as First Fridays when local merchants open their doors and bring merchandise to the sidewalk or street for sale. Submergible bollards are being installed to close the street to traffic during these events. A European feel was desired and with the topography between the buildings being flat, a swale in the center of the road was designed instead of a crown used in most American towns.

“In America, we typically crown our streets and force water into underground storm pipes along the curbs, but we can move the drains to the center of the street in a swale and accomplish the same outcome,” Renta explains. “An advantage to the swelled verses crowned streets is a `flatter’ surface to walk on which lends itself better to foot traffic during events.”

Renta Urban Land Design is also working with the city to develop a Greenway plan to connect schools, city hall, library, senior center, parks and other civic sites to the downtown as it weaves through neighborhoods.

Infrastructure will be improved by adding new ADA accessible paths and sidewalks as construction progresses. Renta says not all parts of the Greenway will follow infrastructure renovation, and portions will be implemented during new street paving or neighborhood development.

“The Greenway is very ambitious with over 50 miles of existing and proposed trails, sidewalks and bike lanes,” he explains. “Because of its scale, the Greenway was divided into districts that have their own unique design ques which reflect the culture of each district. The First Avenue redevelopment plan, also known as the Warehouse District renovation plan, resides in what is identified as the Downtown Loop which houses the majority of municipal buildings and the historic train depot for which the early streets were developed around. The goal of the Downtown Greenway Loop is to link the local businesses to the schools, civic buildings and parks.”

Renta calls the Warehouse District project an “exemplary example” of what the city and Greenway plan can achieve. “This district is hopefully only a start to the Greenway plan envisioned by the city and follows the practices and goals outlined in the Greenway Book we helped produce.”

 

 

 

 

 

Image 1 – Cullman’s Greenway Downtown Loop connects over 50 miles of existing and proposed trails, sidewalks and bike lanes. The Warehouse District renovation is part of the Downtown Loop, which contains the most of the city’s municipal buildings and the historic train depot.

Image 2- The Warehouse District is well suited for public events. One such event is “Dinner on First’ where the street is blocked off to vehicular traffic and turned into a large pedestrian plaza which lends itself to a festive feel with string lighting.

Image 3- Improvements are about to be made to one of Alabama’s oldest historic sites. Cullman’s Warehouse District, which dates back to 1873, will receive primarily hardscape upgrades, thanks in large part to a grant from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Image 4- The eye-catching cover of the Greenway plan, a citywide plan in which Renta Urban Land Design has been working on with the city of Cullman on since 2014. The plan connects civic entities such as schools, city hall, the library, the senior center, and parks to downtown while weaving through Cullman’s neighborhoods.

*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Renta Urban Land Design

Birmingham Department Store Now Luxury Apartments

For decades in downtown Birmingham, forward-thinking property owners and designers have found new uses for abandoned buildings. Among the latest is New Ideal Lofts, a luxury condominium building at Second Avenue North and 18th Street North in the Theatre District set to be completed in June.

New Ideal was a downtown Birmingham department store founded in 1908. After operating out of several downtown locations, in the 1940s the store moved to the former Sears site at the corner of Second Avenue North and 18th Street which became the New Ideal Building. The store closed around 1990 and the building sat vacant until it was purchased by its current developer in 2018.

“New Ideal was a very popular department store in the 1950s and 1960s,” says Mike Gibson, CEO and cofounder of Creature, the architect and general contractor on the project. Interestingly, Gibson notes that it was common for department stores back then to control light artificially. Though the New Ideal building had plenty of windows they were hidden from view. This is in sharp contrast to Creature’s design approach to bring in as much natural light as possible.

Because this was not a tax credit project, the renovation work did not have to adhere to certain historic standards. Though, as Gibson points out, any renovation is a challenge. A main objective was to create a design that worked from the business plan to create as much sellable space as possible, Gibson says. This was achieved in several ways, such as creating additional vertical space for windows so light can enter the units. An elevated courtyard was designed to create more surface area and an additional floor was added.

The original three-story building now has four floors. The ground floor in particular had a lot of tall windows and all of these existing openings were used in the design. Facing Second Avenue, the ground floor provides 3,500 square feet of retail space. An additional 1,500 square feet can be created by installing a mezzanine. The ground floor terrazzo floors remain intact and some of the building’s original masonry walls also remain, along with exposed beams and hardwood flooring.

On the upper three floors are 44 residential lofts – studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and larger live/work units. A two-bedroom two-bath apartment, for example, features a wall of original brick, exposed beams and 13-foot-6-inch ceiling. By comparison, the standard height of a residential first floor is 9 feet and 8 feet for the second floor.

New Deal is adjacent to the Pizitz mixed-use development, which contains 151 apartments and a food hall. The building is also next to a 400-space public parking deck and within walking distance to the Lyric and Alabama theaters. Twenty-nine parking spaces are also available to New Ideal Lofts tenants.

Image 1-Additional vertical space was created for windows so light can enter the units. An elevated courtyard was also designed to create more surface area and a fourth floor was added to the original three-story building.

Image 2 -New Ideal Lofts is a luxury condominium building in downtown Birmingham’s Theatre District set to be completed in June. The 1925 building was occupied by New Ideal department store which closed around 1990.

Image 3 -Facing Second Avenue, the ground floor will be used for 3,500 square feet of retail space. Additional 1,500 square feet can be created by installing a mezzanine.

*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Creature

Progress Continues on Downtown Trussville Redevelopment

Trussville is one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities and is known as the “Gateway of Happy Living.” An apt nickname considering the ongoing efforts to transform the downtown of this Birmingham suburb into a walkable, inviting hub for entertainment, community events and shopping.

Work began in 2015 as a small streetscape project and has grown to become the full-fledged downtown revitalization plan that is under way today. Partnering with the city on the Downtown Trussville Revitalization Plan are TurnerBatson Architects and Dix.Hite+Partners, landscape architecture.

“The planning and implementation of downtown Trussville is one that took and continues to take a collaborative effort from elected officials, design professionals, developers and business owners,” says project manager Matt Phillips of Dix.Hite+Partners.

The redevelopment plan encompasses a once neglected but prime area of the downtown. The plan and its ongoing progress are credited to the vision of Mayor Buddy Choat, the City Council and key developers.

Quad 1, which contains the entertainment district, is currently under construction and is expected to be completed within the next few months. This area will include an amphitheater, pavilion, shops and restaurants, along with two breweries.

An objective of this long-term redevelopment plan is to is to attract new businesses, including businesses under local ownership. The addition of safe and secure parking and improved traffic within the district is expected to help businesses prosper.

“The goal of the vision we set in 2015 was to shift from a vehicle dominant development pattern to a series of interconnected, pedestrian-focused destinations,” Phillips explains. “As each street, park and public space gets implemented, we know and understand its greater context and how it fits into and contributes to the larger vision.”

Construction is planned to begin in July on Quad 2, which includes a public plaza at Hwy 11 and Chalkville Mountain Road. Also under way is the creation of a plan for the extension and connectivity of the greenway. Dix.Hite+Partners created the master plan for Quad 2 and is providing the landscaping design. Russo Corporation is the general contractor, Quality Creative Landscaping is in charge of hardscape and Vision Landscapes is installing the landscaping.

The first phase of the Downtown Trussville Revitalization Plan included razing the Braden Furniture buildings, a business that dates back to the 1950s. The plaza will be named Braden’s Plaza in honor of this long-standing local business.

 

Image 1: The Quad 2 master plan includes a public plaza at Hwy 11 and Chalkville Mountain Road. Construction on this second phase of the Trussville redevelopment plan is expected to begin in July.

Image 2: Quad 1 is presently under construction and expected to be completed in a few months. This mixed-used development includes retail, restaurants, residential lofts, and the Entertainment District that can be seen in the background.

Image 3: A primary goal of the redevelopment plan is to create a walkable, family-friendly environment in the heart of Trussville, one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities.

Image 4: The first phase of the redevelopment plan is focused on the entertainment district, which will provide the stimulus for continuing development.

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of Dix Hite +Partners and Turner Batson Architects. 

DesignPlace Video Debuts

Video is a proven way to get a message across, to capture and hold the viewers’ attention. This makes video an ideal complement to DesignPlace, the DesignAlabama program that partners Alabama communities with a design team whose goal is to help the participating community improve its assets and livability.

The DesignPlace video is debuting now and provides an overview of the DesignPlace program. The three-minute video uses Gadsden as a case study and will be presented at upcoming DesignPlace charrettes.

Viewers are given a fast-paced virtual tour of the town. Teams are seen collaborating in sessions. Community leaders and design professionals discuss design challenges and solutions. Plenty of visual content packed into this short but captivating video.

The video promotes and enhances the DesignPlace program by giving future communities who participate a full understanding of the process, explains DesignAlabama Executive Director Gina Clifford.

“This was the first time we used video to document our journey and we could see video being used as a way to further engage the community,” says Angela Stiff, DesignAlabama board member and managing partner and creative director of Copperwing Design. “It certainly helps to educate other civic leaders on the process and exhibits very quickly the value the community receives.”

Marketing is an area that video is used to great success. Stiff notes that video has remained a key opportunity and priority for marketers. “The need for brevity in communicating today makes a ‘see it rather than read it’ strategy one that works,” says Stiff. “Especially in the case of tourism or placemaking. When you need to transport someone to a different environment, video can be very effective.”

Making a video begins with a storyboard of ideas, Stiff explains. A creative director then helps determine the mood of the piece and what type of shots are needed.

“Once content is gathered, the magic of it all really happens in the editing process,” she points out. “How you edit your story truly defines how the audience experiences what you want to share. We fully expect video to continue to grow as a go-to communication medium, especially in our new touch-free culture.”

 

To View the Video Click Here

 

Historic High School Converted to Assisted Living Center

In “You Can’t Go Home Again,” novelist Thomas Wolfe’s protagonist finds that too much has changed in his hometown and attempts to relive his youth are doomed to fail.

Maybe you can’t go home again, but you can return to high school. That will be true for some of the future residents of Carillon Oaks, the new senior living facility in the former Cleburne County High School in Heflin.

Architect Jim Clarke of Clarkitects, L.L.C. in Baldwin County designed the new facility and says the idea to reuse an old high school for assisted living was “genius” on the part of the owners and developers – Mobile-based Lathan & Coleman that specializes in historic preservation.

“Many of their future residents actually attended high school there, so the building provides a positive experience via the memories of youth during a transitional time of life that can be difficult,” Clarke explains.

“Local residents were visibly excited about the project at the groundbreaking ceremony, and some of the discussions overheard included being able to ‘walk these halls again’, ‘I met my wife right here’, and even a gentleman who shared that he still owns the same car he drove while attending high school there, who was excited about parking it in the same parking lot again after all these years.

Set to open this spring, the high school is now a 36-bed assisted living facility with a newly constructed 16-bed memory care facility on the five-acre site.
Built in 1936, the high school closed in 1986. The property was bought by a local family who didn’t want it torn down, notes Jerry Lathan of Lathan & Coleman, who says “it was ‘mothballed’ until someone like us came along.”

The high school is designated a National Historic Landmark, making it eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits. The $13 million project was also made possible through the use of opportunity zone credits and new market tax credits. This is said to be the first project in Alabama to combine all three programs.
Elements of the high school work well for its new use such as wide hallways, common areas, and cooking and dining facilities. Amenities include a restaurant, chapel and beauty salon.

Additional parking was added, along with restoring the high school’s auditorium to provide residents with entertainment from local performers. Lathan points out that “this keeps the residents integrated in the community and provides an audience for young performers.”
Carillon Oaks is the first senior living facility of its kind in the area and will provide 50 permanent jobs, Lathan adds.

“This project is a unique pilot project for abandoned school buildings everywhere, because construction of elderly living facilities is one of the fastest growing markets in America,” Clarke says. “The notion of building reuse for this function is not only significant from the historical perspective, it also meets the ultimate green objective to repurpose rather than raze and rebuild.”

Image: The former Cleburne County High School in Heflin is now a 36-bed assisted living facility with a new 16-bed memory care facility on the five-acre site. The facility is set to open this spring. Called Carillon Oaks, some of the occupants of the new senior living facility attended Cleburne County High School. Built in 1936, the high school closed in 1986.

* Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Image Courtesy of  Jim Clarke/Clarkitects

New Welcome Center at Children’s Harbor

The Welcome Center is the newest addition to the Children’s Harbor campus along Lake Martin near Alexander City. Designed by ArchitectureWorks, the new center introduces visitors to a place where children with serious illnesses and their families can enjoy summer camp-type activities at no cost.

Cindy Coyle of ArchitectureWorks says the main goal was to provide hospitality for the guests, and provide staff and board members space to carry out the work and mission of Children’s Harbor, which was founded in 1989 by Ben and Luanne Russell. The new Welcome Center also serves as the gateway to the camp, and is the check-in point for camp leaders and headquarters for the nonprofit organization’s administrative offices.

“Mr. Russell’s vision was for the place to have the feel of a New England fishing camp,” Coyle explains. “Along those lines, the Welcome Center continues that vision on the exterior and interior that evoke a simple, nautical theme. The lobby space is intentionally open and airy, and the clerestory window provides a view of the widow’s walk above the spiral staircase. Walls of glass from the offices and expansive covered porches provide views toward beautiful Lake Martin.”

In addition to camping amenities, Children’s Harbor offers coaching, counseling, education, recreation, respite and other supportive services during and after hospitalization. Its other location is the Family Center at the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham.

The Welcome Center is strategically positioned at the entrance to Children’s Harbor. For many years, the administrative services functioned out of a smaller building further into the property, Coyle adds. The new building greets guests immediately as they enter the grounds.

This new building is seen as guests come across the Kowaliga Bridge over Lake Martin. Its architectural style is of the New England Light House aesthetic that is carried throughout camp. The Welcome Center also builds on the former iconic Harbor House Building conceived by founder Ben Russell.

The new addition to the building has been sited to work around existing trees and topography. Coyle points out that the white-washed walls and open interiors with exposed structure give priority to the views of the clear waters at Lake Martin.

 

Image 1:Designed by ArchitectureWorks, the new Welcome Center at Children’s Harbor introduces visitors to a place where children with serious illnesses and their families can enjoy summer camp-type activities at no cost.

Image 2:The new center serves as the gateway to the camp. It is also the check-in point for camp leaders and headquarters for the non-profit organization’s administrative offices.

Image 3:The new center is first seen as guests come across the Kowaliga Bridge over Lake Martin. Its architectural style is of the New England Light House aesthetic which is carried throughout the property.

Image 4: The new addition has been sited to work around existing trees and topography. White washed walls and open interiors with exposed structure give priority to the views of Lake Martin.

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Cary Norton

Former Avondale Historic Gas Station Now a Multi-tenant Space

Gas stations were part of the automobile’s golden age and are one of America’s most ubiquitous commercial building types. Today, bygone stations are appreciated for their historic and architectural significance. So much so that these early 20th century gems are finding new uses like this former 1930s Gulf station in Birmingham’s historic Avondale district.

Completed the summer of 2019, the 400 41st Street Building is now a bustling, multi-tenant office and retail space. The Depression-era building underwent several renovations over the years and though much of its filling station character is gone, it retains original elements including masonry, exposed wood joists and decking that reveal its history, explains Kris Nikolich of Design Initiative who oversaw the adaptive reuse project.

Instead of attempting to restore the building to its original gas station look, the building was renovated to better fit its urban landscape. A 2,000-square-foot, glass enclosed addition fronts the original single-story building. This brings the building to the sidewalk and aligns it with the adjacent fire station.

The project is described as new work that is intentionally distinct to create a “balance composition that juxtaposes old versus new and solid versus transparent. The new form is simple and direct. The building systems are exposed to reflect to the raw character of this emerging neighborhood center.

Occupying the building are a variety of enterprises that appeal to the Avondale community, along with space for a nearby church. Arcadia Salon, Cookie Dough Magic, Sidekicks Sneaker Shop and 4th & Spring, a division of Redeemer Community Church.

Interestingly, this section of Avondale once had many gas stations, a disproportionate number of gas stations were once in this section of Avondale where the former Gulf station is located, notes Nikolich, though he’s not sure why.

Homewood-based Ignite Properties owns the 400 41st Street Building, which reflects the company’s vision of “thoughtful modern architecture that blends the artifacts of the past with clean lines of today.”

 

 

 

Image 1: The former 1930s Gulf gas station has been renovated several times over the years. Some original elements remain such as brick, exposed wood joists and decking.

Image 2: A 2,000-square-foot, glass enclosed addition fronts the original single-story building. This brings the building to the sidewalk to better fit its urban landscape and align it with the adjacent fire station.

Image 3: Several small businesses occupy the 400 41st Building, including a popular Cookie Dough Magic franchise.

Image 4: The transformed building brings together the old and new with a simple and direct approach. The building systems are exposed to reflect the raw character of this emerging neighborhood center.

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Graham Yelton

Business Finds New Home in Birmingham Warehouse

Old warehouses often get reused after defunct industries leave them sitting empty. Such transformations have happened for decades in downtown Birmingham. Among the latest is a former service garage warehouse redesigned for Cayenne Creative, a creative branding agency that outgrew its former location.

ArchitectureWorks created nodes of space tailored to each department to encourage collaboration where they intersect and interaction among co-workers in different departments. These nodes also allow the agency’s work to be seen by everyone through passive observation and active engagement.

Amphitheater bleachers that rise to mezzanine level provide an interesting alternative to conventional meeting space and offer a relaxed, open area.

“It also acts as a second space within the office for small huddles or even independent laptop work,” explains ArchitectureWorks Partner Bruce Lanier. “It also has been known to host a Superbowl viewing party or two. That’s the kind of versatility we were hoping Cayenne would find in their use of the space.”

A whiteboard clad “war room” links the ground floor bullpens and offices. The material palate and color schemes are neutral and high contrast. The warehouse’s imperfections and irregularities were incorporated into the design.

“It was originally an automotive garage, so it has all sorts of random, interesting elements,” notes Lanier.” An old metal clad sliding fire door was left in situ in the kitchen, and in the steel trusses there were some pulleys and hangers that had been welded onto them over the years that we decided to leave in place and paint out with the rest of the ceiling.”

Lanier also notes “some peculiar bits of masonry” where the walls had been cut and patched over time which contribute novel textures and patterns.

Converting warehouses is a trend that doesn’t appear to be waning. They’re hard to beat for appeal and functionality. “From a practical standpoint, they were usually well-built and designed with the openness that factory and warehouse work required, so adapting them to new purposes is often pretty easy,” Lanier says.

“As for aesthetics, they probably appeal to people for different reasons. For me, there is a ruggedness and naturalness of the craft and the materials used in the construction of some of Birmingham’s early warehouse and industrial buildings. And a human quality to the assembly of brick and wood and concrete that is compounded with age – holes and marks on the walls, bits of paint and plaster are vestiges of other people and other times. Re-purposing these buildings for modern users reminds us of that past and allows us to look forward. There is something hopeful in that.”

In 2019, the project received the AIA Alabama Excellence in Design Awards, Merit Award and the AIA Birmingham Design Awards, Merit Award.

 

 

Image 1: Amphitheater bleachers that rise to mezzanine level provide an interesting alternative to conventional meeting space and offer a relaxed, open area that can be used for a variety of functions. From client meetings to casual events.

Image 2: The material palette and color schemes are simple, neutral and in high contrast. Imperfections and irregularities were left intact and incorporated into the design to add interest and discovery.

Image 3: Nodes were tailored to each department to encourage collaboration where they intersect and also provide interaction among co-workers in different departments. Additionally, they allow everyone to see the agency’s creative work through passive observation and active engagement.

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images courtesy of Art Meripol

 

Warehouse Transformed into the 2700 Building

Repurposing existing buildings is the ultimate in sustainable architecture and adaptive reuse projects abound in Alabama. Born out of this concept is flex space, a term used to describe light industrial warehouses that “flex” into larger or smaller air-conditioned spaces as needed.

A recent flex space design is Birmingham’s 2700 Building, an underutilized warehouse in the Lakeview District owned by Sloss Real Estate, a district that’s becoming increasingly mixed-use.

The tilt-up concrete building was punctured with new large glass panels and steel entry canopies to accommodate Dekalb Office Alabama, a furniture showroom, two additional office tenants, and the furniture warehouse. About half of the building is now office space and about half remains a warehouse, which the furniture company is using for their stock.

CCR Architecture & Interiors in Birmingham designed the 2700 Building. The steel and concrete structure was left exposed with lighting and ductwork highlighting its industrial character. Furnishings are open and flexible, taking advantage of the glazing and views. The mezzanine above the loading dock houses unfinished future tenant space with south facing windows opening to views of Pepper Place and Southside Birmingham. The result is sunlit, collaborative work areas for tenants.

“We removed the building’s concrete panels and replaced them with glass to create bright, open interiors that previously did not exist,” explains Tammy Cohen, president of CCR Architecture & Interiors. “With the tall ceiling heights and glass walls, the offices and showrooms became comfortable, light-filled spaces.”

The loading dock and the building floor plate were four feet above grade. This posed a challenge when creating accessible entrances for the office, Cohen notes.

“Our customer (Sloss Real Estate) wanted to maximize their building, helping it adapt to current market demands,” adds Brittiny Russell of Stewart Perry which provided construction services. “We transitioned a portion of warehouse, once home to a few dark offices and mill work space, into vibrant office spaces. This started with demoing the existing concrete tilt up panels and adding structural steel, allowing for additional openings and more light, a vital component to modern work space.”

New entrances and landscaping completed the project and enhanced the outdoor space.

Image 1- The tilt-up concrete building was punctured with new large glass panels and steel entry canopies to accommodate Dekalb Office Alabama, a furniture showroom, two additional office tenants, and a furniture warehouse.

Image 2 -Concrete panels were replaced with glass to create bright, open interiors. With the tall ceiling heights and glass walls, the offices and showrooms became comfortable, light-filled spaces.

Image 3- Birmingham’s 2700 Building transformed an underutilized warehouse in the Lakeview District owned by Sloss Real Estate. About half of the building is now office space and about half remains a warehouse.

Image 4- New entrances and landscaping completed the project and enhanced the outdoor space. The once primarily industrial Lakeview District tis becoming increasingly mixed-use area.

*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of CCR Architecture and Interiors

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