Design Alabama
Design Alabama


Historic Birmingham Warehouse Now Home for Startups

CCR Architecture & Interiors has created an inviting space to nurture young companies. Space so inviting that the startups might not want to leave once they’re done incubating.

The Birmingham-based firm converted a turn-of-the-20th-century masonry warehouse on historic Morris Avenue in downtown Birmingham into the headquarters for Harmony Venture Labs, part of the city’s emerging startup scene. The warehouse was later used as a law office and at one time had a restaurant on the first floor.

Harmony Venture Labs has its eye on the future, while operating in a part of Birmingham that’s rooted in the past. The Morris Avenue District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

This vibrant office space supports a team of innovators, designers, marketers, and operators that launch, grow, and support startups. Harmony Venture Labs founder, Shegun Otulana, moved from Nigeria to the United States to study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and remained in Birmingham to raise his family and start several successful ventures.

“Everything was gutted from the previous law firm and the space adapted beautifully to open office concepts with conference rooms and support spaces,” says CCR President Tammy Cohen.

Completed in fall 2023, the project involved soda-blasting the wood structure and replacing bubble skylights with a singular north-facing skylight. Repointing the existing brick walls brought new life to this historic building. In the main lobby, the two-story atrium features sound-dampening light fixtures meant to symbolize the splitting and multiplication of ideas in the startup growth process.

The building’s structural and mechanical systems were left uncovered, giving the space a modern feeling. Part of the modernist ethos is truth to materials in which systems are exposed and incorporated into the design concept.

The office accommodates a range of work styles with plenty of space for collaboration and quiet, focused work. Blue tile, carpet, paint, and furniture pieces throughout the space reference the Harmony Venture Labs brand.

Amenities include a library, game room, cafeteria-style break room, and a covered rooftop lounge that encourage team members to socialize and connect. Comfortable seating is found throughout, including the spacious rooftop lounge that overlooks downtown Birmingham.

Upholstered booth seating and tables that would be at home in your favorite diner invite lingering in the break room. With its overstuffed chairs, sofas and a fireplace, one room resembles a cozy living room.

Innovate. Inspire. Empower. That’s what Harmony Venture Labs aims to do. Accomplished in a building constructed more than a century ago.






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


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