AIA Alabama Council Announces 2016 Design Award Winners

Alabama Council of The American Institute of Architects

Post Office Box 240757  •  Montgomery, Alabama 36124-0757

Telephone (334) 264-3037  •  Fax (334) 272-7128  •  Email



 Alabama Council AIA Announces 2016 Design Award Winners


The Alabama Council of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) honored building projects as outstanding examples of architecture during the 2016 Design Awards Luncheon.  The awards ceremony was held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach.  Alabama Council President, Les Tillery, AIA, of Birmingham presided over the event.

The Alabama Council’s Design Awards Program encourages excellence in architecture through the commentary of our colleagues.  From a group of statewide entries, the jury awarded a Honor Award, four Awards of Merit, two Honorable Mention Awards.

This year, a panel of distinguished architects from Louisiana were chosen as the jury.  The jury consisted of Mark Ripple of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, David Waggonner, Waggoner+Ball, Paula Peer, Trapolin Peer and Byron Mouton, BILD Design.
Design Awards entries were selected for recognition based on the success with which they met the jury’s requirements.  Honor Awards are the highest level of recognition that the Alabama Council AIA bestows to firms for exemplary design exceeding criteria set by the jury.

2016 Design Awards Winners

Honor Award

Project: The Clubhouse

Architect: bDot Architecture

Think back to your childhood… exploring the woods for the first time.  So much of that experience is about the mystery of what is just around the next bend, the verticality of the trees dwarfing you, and the rays of sun on your skin.  The intent of the clubhouse was to fit in that memory all the while reinterpreting the experience into architectural forms.  At first glimpse, the clubhouse is the counterpoint to the landscape.  Its orthogonal form complements the landscape by not daring to compete with it.  One of the mysteries of the clubhouse is that the entry is hidden from the approach from the house, forcing you to engage the landscape further.  Once it has been discovered, the entry reveals a rope ladder and a trap door into the play space.  With hatches for battening and an observation deck for engaging the scenic hillside, one is allowed to experience the height and verticality of the woods against the shelter and horizontality of the play space.  The interior takes the verticality of the woods and turns it on its side, figuratively.  The horizontal slats of the clubhouse envelop the interior of the space with rays of light that recall the imagery of those memories of the woods from our childhoods, but in a way that is novel to this one place.


Merit Award

Project: Tankersley Residence

Architect: Chambless King Architects

The Tankersley House is a single-family dwelling for a husband and wife couple and their pets and sited on a 30 acre plot of countryside in Prattville, Alabama. Designed with a modern farmhouse feel, the house focuses on natural materials, simple detailing and physical and visual connections to the outside. The exterior is simple and strives to recall the iconic farmhouse image with vertical board & batten siding, steep gables with shed dormers,  large picture windows and metal standing seam roofs. The interior main level of the house features open spaces with exposed wood framed ceilings and access to a large wrap-around screened in porch. A simple scissor stair with heart pine treads & a steel handrail takes you to the second level where the form of the roof is expressed with white walls and pine tongue & groove ceilings. Visual connections to the exterior are major part of each space within the house and allow for constant interaction with the outside.


Merit Award

Project: Homewood Board of Education, Central Office

Architect: Williams Blackstock Architects

The new home for the Homewood Board of Education Central Office is the first phase of a 24-acre development plan for the Homewood School System. The New Central Office provides for the programmatic needs of the Homewood City Schools administrative staff, which includes offices, conference rooms, and meeting rooms for professional development and public events. The building is conceived as a “garden pavilion” integrated with the site, intended to mediate between public and private, man-made and natural. Sited to create synergy between the Central Office, Middle School, Community Garden and the adjacent residential neighborhood, the building is nestled behind a line of pine trees with a cantilevered porch roof extending just beyond the pines. With pavilion as precedent, the roof is accentuated in the form of a kite inspired by the social history of the site; fondly known as “Kite Hill”. The north façade – the public face of the building, is a solid “garden wall” with punched openings at offices. The private south façade provides a sense of immersion in the landscape, dematerializing from stone to glass to provide views of an existing stand of pine trees.


Merit Award

Project: Brookwood Forest Elementary Dining Porch

Architect: Simonton Swaika Black Architects, Inc.

With Birmingham’s moderate climate, the porch can be used for most of the school year. The challenge was to resolve the inherent conflict between boisterous elementary school students and the fragile insect screens while creating a light, airy, and transparent structure. The design solution incorporates built-in benches and a cable rail system around the porch perimeter that keeps children away from the screen while maintaining unobstructed visibility down to the seating surface. New overhead doors open up the existing exterior wall of the cafeteria to the 18 foot high porch volume. In Phase 2 of the project a “farm-to-table” garden will be planted around the porch. Funded entirely by the local Parent Teacher Organization, the project had a very limited budget. To stretch dollars, the school district’s facilities management department acted as the General Contractor and self-performed much of the work.


Merit Award

Project: Cahaba Brewing Company

Architect: Williams Blackstock Architects

In the spirit of revitalization that is moving through Birmingham, Alabama, the four partners of Cahaba Brewing Company took their love of craft beer, motivated by its growing popularity in the region, as an opportunity to expand their brewery and taproom. The minimal budget was not a hindrance but the foundation for tactful design decisions. A controlled material palette and priority on craft was leveraged in the creation of a memorable atmosphere unique among Alabama’s breweries.  The reintroduction of light through existing monitor windows gives the reclaimed pine walls a radiance in the afternoons while providing sufficient illumination in the production area. Located on 5th Avenue South in the Historic 1925 Continental Gin Building complex, Cahaba’s Brewery sits at the crossroads of Birmingham’s industrial past and its renaissance as a hub of artfully crafted and inspiring community spaces. The taproom provides a much needed agent of change in the Avondale and Crestwood neighborhoods. Cahaba Brewery has become the gold standard for the brewing of beer as well as the destination to hang out and build community.


Honorable Mention

Project: Hughes Residence

Architect: Nequette Architecture & Design

The main goal of this project was to provide a large 5600 square foot home for an ever-growing family on a smaller lot and make it feel quaint while respecting the scale of the neighborhood rather than following the trend of the McMansion infill. Located in one of the three historic villages of Mountain Brook just south of Downtown Birmingham, this neighborhood struggles with the consequences of a housing market in high-demand when design regulations are absent.  Architectural character, traditional urban design, walkability, and proximity to downtown have led to the popularity of Crestline Village.  The ensuing real estate investment typically encourages maximized footprints, which has a negative effect on the character of the neighborhood and degrades the long-term value of properties because of lower-quality design, inferior construction, and inappropriate massing. Our solution to this challenge was to design a home inspired by the simplicity and honesty of the adjacent houses contributing to the historic character of the community.  The simple massing, authentic materials and attention to detail create a charming residence with a timeless quality that fits comfortably into the neighborhood.  To meet the programmatic needs of the owners, the plan extends deep into the lot and wraps both public and private spaces around an internal courtyard. The courtyard and pool are raised to the main level of the house and act as the central garden space. All main rooms have generous windows and access to the courtyard that allows indoor living spaces to expand outdoors easily and comfortably.


Honorable Mention

Project: Oven Bird

Architect: Alex Krumdieck

Located in Birmingham, Alabama, “Industrial City Beautiful,” the recently completed OvenBird restaurant lies beneath the shadows of the smoke stacks of Sloss’ Iron Furnaces, Birmingham’s original “ovens”.  Deriving its name from the national bird of Argentina, the Rufous Hornero or OvenBird, which builds its nest in the shape of a traditional wood-fired ovens. Combining the metallurgical history of Birmingham with centuries old live-fire cooking traditions of Spain, Portugal, Uruguay and Argentina, OvenBird celebrates intense flavors, seasonality, and craftsmanship holistically through its cuisine and design. On approach to the restaurant, guests walk among the heirloom roses and crepe myrtles and are confronted with two large smoke stacks beneath which lies the Asado.  The Asado acts as the connecting piece between the gardens and the dining areas and is the heart of the restaurant, housing the main cast iron oven. The design team created a main dining area that is a simple yet rich space, made up of exposed steel and wood trusses supporting a rich textured single shed ceiling reminiscent of the large industrial warehouses of historic Birmingham. The dining area is seamlessly connected to the garden through a wall of operable louvres and glass French doors. A second dining room, found within an existing warehouse space, allows for a unique and raw experience. The seamless connection to the gardens, palette of materials, and the open wood fire ovens embrace the Latin Culture and metallurgical history of Birmingham, creating a new and appropriate “place” celebrating the original slogan, “Industrial City Beautiful.”

The Alabama Council AIA was established in 1916 as a non-profit trade association for architects residing and practicing in Alabama. The primary goal of the Alabama Council AIA is to promote unity among the architectural profession in the state.