August Newsletter

Hi Problem Solvers,

I went to Post Office Pies a few weeks ago for dinner. I noticed a blind man walked in tapping his cane and walked directly to the back of the restaurant to order his pizza, a waitress directed him to the front where orders are placed.  He ordered and sat down at a table near us.  A lady (customer) walked by and offered to refill his drink, he replied, “thank you, but I can do it.” A few minutes went by, he got up, walked straight to the drink station, got ice and refilled his drink. He did not spill a drop. When he was leaving, we heard him say it was his first time to eat there and he did not know where to order. Something so simple, we take for granted each day. This led to a conversation of would you rather be deaf, blind, or have other disabilities?  People who are disabled did not get to choose their disability, they were born with it, accidents, sickness that led to a disability, old age, or veterans who fought for our freedom.  The ADA workshop and the Veteran’s Therapeutic Art Exhibit we are hosting this month has made me even more aware of how we should be thankful for our health every moment and not take it for granted.

I admire and respect each of you. You have a talent/gift/job/career that creates places where everyone can experience the building as it was intended to be used. Your design solutions help make each day less challenging for people who wake up every day with a disability.

Good Design is for everyone, it should not discriminate. Keep making a difference and see you August 21st at the Designing for the Lifespan/ADA workshop.

P.S. We received confirmation yesterday that Darrell Christenson, Vice President of Community Integration for Ability360 will also present at our ADA workshop!!!! Lucky YOU!

Peace & AIA Love,
Rhea Williams, Executive Director AIA Birmingham
Alabama Center for Architecture

We would like to give a warm welcome to our new Silver Sponsors

Bidsters, Inc. & Huber Engineered Woods!

You can view more about the companies here:

Thank you to our 2018 AIA Birmingham Chapter Sponsors!

A full list of sponsors is listed on the right column of this page. Check out the 2018 sponsorship brochure here.

August Chapter Meeting: Designing for the Lifespan

Join us on Tuesday, August 21st from 11:00-3:30 PM for “Designing for the Lifespan,” a jam-packed ADA workshop and EXPO with 3 HSW’s & speakers from the Lakeshore Foundation, Evan Terry Associates, and AARP!

Lunch & Chapter Meeting Only (1 HSW) – $20.00 AIA/ASLA/IIDA/ASCE Members // $40.00 Non-Members

Full Seminar (3 HSWs) – $40.00 AIA/ASLA/IIDA/ASCE Members // $80.00 Non-Members

Speaker Bios:

Darrel Christenson

Over the past three decades Mr. Christenson has been professionally employed at 2 Centers for Independent Living, assisting persons with disabilities to be more independent and integrated in their community of choice, as well as advocating for a more accessible society.

For over 20 years he has been the Vice President of Community Integration for Ability360, formerly Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL). Programs under Mr. Christenson’s direction include: Information & Referral, Independent Living Skills Training, Empowering Youth with Disabilities into Adulthood, Early Intervention, Reintegration of Young Adults from Nursing Homes to Community, Community Living Options, Home Modification, Socialization through Recreation and Americans with Disabilities Act Services. Ability360 is one of the largest Centers for Independent Living nationwide with an operating budget of over $54 million this year.

On July 26, 2017 Mr. Christenson was elected Treasurer for the National Council on Independent Living’s (NCIL) Board of Directors. He had served as Board member-at-large for the previous 3 years and has served on their Housing Sub-Committee for the past 11 years which addresses national issues of increasing and promoting accessibility in all housing nationally. NCIL’s mission is to advance independent living and the rights of people with disabilities through consumer-driven advocacy and is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.

He is an active member of the Arizona Fair Housing Partnership, working to educate members of the housing industry on the benefits and requirements of accessible, affordable housing throughout Arizona.

Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Arizona, Mr. Christenson had worked with the Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living (SEMCIL) based in Rochester, Minnesota for the previous 11½ years. There he was responsible for opening 3 branch offices in rural counties and provided services to consumers with disabilities and communities in 11 counties. Both his life-long experiences as a person with both a physical and sensory disability and as a person with a graduate degree in Guidance & Counseling from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, have given him the experience and knowledge to assist persons with disabilities adjust to life with a disability.

Karin Korb

Karin broke her back in a gymnastics vaulting accident and is most known for her wheelchair tennis accolades. She is a 2-time Paralympian and a 10-time member of the USA World Team. She was the first person with a disability to receive a Division 1 athletic scholarship to Georgia State University to play intercollegiate wheelchair tennis and has gone on to assist other universities in creating their own wheelchair tennis programs.  She was named the USA’s Junior Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup Coach and led the top American juniors into international competition, where they are currently ranked number ONE in the world!  Her induction into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame as its youngest inductee and only person with a disability, speaks to her unyielding commitment to foster and grow the sport of tennis to all those who wish to play.  She also received the coveted “Gold Brick” in front of Arthur Ashe’s Stadium in Randy Snow’s Neighborhood. When asked about this honor she simply responded with: “Well, that brick is cute and everything and an amazing gift to my heart, however, it reminds me to continue building the legacy that the infamous Randy Snow started and that requires a whole lot of love for tennis, sport and humanity.”

She served on the coveted U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics Athletes Advisory Council for eight years representing seven sports which included Tennis, Table Tennis, Shooting, Archery, Equestrian, Powerlifting and Canoe/Kayak. She currently serves on the City of Birmingham’s Social Justice Committee as well as the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program’s PADD (Protection and Advocacy of Persons with Developmental Disabilities) Advisory Council. She is deeply passionate about inclusion of persons with disabilities at every level of sport and life.  Her career in both advocacy and policy has spanned over two decades. She has worked with Lakeshore Foundation’s Lima Fox Trot Military program since its inception and is presently their Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator.  In this capacity she leads the Lakeshore Foundation’s Leadership and Mentorship Program, the Women and Girls with Disability Summit, the Durable Medical Equipment research initiative and is the coordinator for the Global Sports Mentorship Program collaborative with the University of Tennessee’s Department of Sport, Peace and Society and the U.S. State Department to name a few.  Her love of humanity is often times referred to as “contagious” and her infectious enthusiasm for sport and a dignified life experience will leave you wondering: “What can I play and how can I be involved”. Korb refers to herself as a simple vehicle for service to and for others; “everything beyond that is a bonus.”

Karin holds an undergraduate degree in Public Administration from Kean University and a Masters of Sports Management from Georgia State University. She is a certified life coach with the International Coaches Federation and brings a highly diverse level of experience having worked with local, national and international clients of varying organizations to create ongoing opportunities for sports integration. Most recently, her efforts in sports diplomacy with the U.S. State Department and the International Tennis Federation Development Fund have taken her to Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Colombia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.  If she is not working on a grant submission or immersed in programming you will find her meditating at the Shambhala Center where she is always focused on deepening her practice. You can often hear her saying: “Listen people, we must also do the bicep curls for our minds!”  She is currently working on her MBSR certification (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and strongly supports integrative medicine, palliative and dignified end of life hospice care. She always has her eyes on the pulse of humanity and “how can we best represent the vision of inclusivity and most importantly, global respect.”

Scot Hollenbeck

Scot boasts over two decades as an advocate for inclusion of persons with disability in all facets of life. He is a graduate of University of Illinois (Urbana -Champaign) and one of the most highly decorated wheelchair track athletes in the history of the Paralympic movement. He is considered one of the leading experts in disability sports policy as well as access advocacy. His professional career highlights include work in real estate development with the disability and 50+ Age in Place/Visitability projects, the Universal Design Bill for the State of Georgia, national interscholastic sports access and regulation advocacy, extensive collaborations with the City of Decatur on multiple single family home access issues which included: Federal Fair Housing Regulations, safe routes to schools and the Community Center design of South Decatur. He has also spearheaded the Decatur Ethical Banking Initiative, Safe Routes to School initiative and the Farm to School Program.  After over twenty years of disability advocacy, Scot changed his life focus and zeroed in on personal growth, spending more exclusive time with his family, working on holistic initiatives, and environmental sustainability. He continues to thrive with his work in real estate and regularly consults on universal design and access projects.

Some examples of his work:

Jim Terry

Mr. Terry, CEO of Evan Terry Associates, P.C., joined the firm after receiving his B. S. in Architecture from the University of Southern California and his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan.  He has served on a variety of levels at ETA including project architect, project manager, energy specialist, project designer, contract administrator, and accessible design specialist.  Mr. Terry’s architectural project experience includes corporate facilities, municipal facilities, healthcare, schools and universities, libraries, recreational facilities, shopping centers, multi‐family housing, churches and light industrial facilities.  For twenty one years, he has concentrated his efforts in the area of accessible design and in particular with the Americans with Disabilities Act and various state accessibility standards’ requirements.

As a specialist in the ADA and accessible design, Mr. Terry has presented hundreds of training programs to building owners, managers, and designers and has worked with federal agencies, public entities, and private corporations nationwide including half of the twenty largest companies in the US.  Mr. Terry coordinates a two day ADA seminar for design professionals with the Harvard University Office of Executive Education which he has been teaching since 1993.    He has written over a dozen books on ADA Facilities Compliance with Evan Terry Associates that have sold over 150,000 copies altogether.   He also led the effort in 1992 to revise the ninth edition of Architectural Graphic Standards for the American Institute of Architects to bring it up to ADA Standards. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of ADA Coordinators.

Candi Williams

Candi Williams has more than 20 years of nonprofit management and community mobilization experience with a powerful and ongoing commitment to give back to Alabama’s citizens.

Candi was appointed as State Director of AARP Alabama in January 2016 after serving as Interim State Director and Associate State Director of Outreach for the organization. She is responsible for leading the strategic direction and development of AARP’s social mission in Alabama, championing positive social change and delivering value through advocacy, information, and service.

Formerly, Candi served as Director of Affiliate Services for HandsOn Network, the volunteer-focused arm of the Points of Light Institute. In her role, Candi was responsible for supporting the success of more than 200 HandsOn Action Centers across the United States. She has a long career history in nonprofit management serving as the Executive Director of Hands On Birmingham, the Regional Director for the American Heart Association and Director of PR and Development for the West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Candi is a graduate from the University of Alabama and remains a Tide loyalist. Throughout her career, her favorite title and position has always been Aunt to her niece and nephews.

View the registration form here

Purchase tickets here

RSVP to by August 15th

Women in Architecture

“Powerful Tools for Staying Calm when the Pressure is On” with April Benetollo, CEO of Momentum

August 14th, 2018
109 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd South

As we advance in our careers, the demands for our time increase exponentially. As we take on more responsibilities, the stakes get higher and higher. In this session April Benetollo will discuss the physiological responses to stress and leave you with five proven strategies for doing your best work, even in the most demanding situations.

Please RSVP by 8/9 to
Purchase tickets here

The IMPACT of Women in Architecture Exhibit

The Alabama Center for Architecture will host the AIA Houston traveling exhibit, “THE IMPACT OF WOMEN in ARCHITECTURE,” opening on October 5, 2018 and will coincide with the Gulf States Young Professionals Symposium (AIA Birmingham is hosting). The exhibit will highlight local and national leaders, women who have a particular focus in the built environment and provide a snapshot of the changing roles of women in the architectural profession.  The timeline for the exhibit begins in 1850, yes, women were making an impact in 1850!

We need information on female owned firms and welcome all firms to support this exhibit.  It is going to be very eye opening for all of us to see where Alabama is on equality in the profession.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the research for this exhibit, email

Click here for more information.

July Chapter Meeting Recap – ACFA Scholarship Awards and Building Habitat with Claire Halpin

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2018 Annual Awards Scholarship Luncheon! We gathered at The Club on July 17th from 11:00-1:00 p.m. to honor our 2018 scholarship winners and newly licensed architects. In partnership with the Birmingham & National Audubon Society, our keynote speaker was Claire Halpin from Studio Gang. Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an architecture and urban design practice with offices in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Architect Claire Halpin is a Senior Project Leader in Studio Gang’s Chicago office, leading design teams for ecological, cultural, and educational projects. We would like to thank our partners at the Birmingham Audubon & National Audubon Society, our title and speaker sponsors, Laney & Foster PC & Giattina Aycock Architecture Studio Inc. and the many other sponsors who help make this dream a reality, including Barry Davis Architects, P.C., Birchfield Penuel & Associates, Carey Hollingsworth Architect, Inc., Goodwyn Mills Cawood, Gresham, Smith and Partners, Hendon + Huckestein Architects, PC / h+ha, and Poole & Company Architects LLC. Congratulations to the scholarship winners & newly licensed architects!

Click here to view photos from the event!

Congratulations to our 2018-2019 ACFA Scholarship Winners!

  • Kayla Bailey (Pelham); Fifth year student at Auburn University – $1,250
  • Adam Davis (Spanish Fort); First year student at Auburn University- $1,250
  • Justin Davis (Montgomery); Third year student at Auburn University – $750
  • Matthew Giddens (Vestavia Hills); Fifth year student at Auburn University – $1,500
  • Jonathan Grace (Huntsville); Second year student at Auburn University – $500
  • Adam Koons (Madison); Third year student at Auburn University – $750

Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Newly Licensed Architects!

  • Elliot Brown – Herrington Architects
  • Robert Bruner – CCR Architecture
  • Allison Chang – Williams Blackstock Architects
  • Lewis Kelly – Built by Design
  • Megan Lynch – Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon, Inc.
  • Mason Walter – Walter G. Mason, Architect
  • William McGarity – ArchitectureWorks, LLP
  • Matthew Smith – Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc.
  • Dan Taylor – bDot Architecture
  • Christine Walck – C.F. Walck LLC.
  • Cameron Weldy – Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc.

Emerging Professionals

Site Visit to the Denham Building in Birmingham’s Parkside District!

August 16th
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The Denham Building
1143 1st Avenue South
Birmingham AL 35233

Located at 1143 First Avenue S., the mixed-use development will include 81,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space, along with 59 urban-loft units. The building is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019. Creature, formerly Golden + Appleseed Construction is leading the design build.

Creature will be providing all required PPE. Please RSVP to by August 15th!

Join us on September 13th for a look inside Creature: the office, the process, & the culture.

Creature is the coming together of two radical-thinking companies into a single entity that is aggressively eliminating waste and inefficiency in the construction industry.  For more than 20 years, Golden Construction built a reputation on high-quality construction  at any scale, mixed with a dynamic process that literally manufactures efficiency. Conversely, Appleseed is a young, energetic company that fast-tracked their perception as a visionary, creative leader in adaptive reuse. After completing just one project together, the two companies saw the tremendous potential of their combined expertise and strengths: a world-class creative and architectural engine matched with a waste-averse method that could adapt to any scale. The result is a single company where architecture, manufacturing, and construction are seamlessly integrated – dramatically reducing costs and timing throughout the project life-cycle while simultaneously improving quality. Golden and Appleseed have joined forces to become creature. Their mission: revolutionize the industry.

RSVP to by September 12th


Architecture Trivia Night Recap

We had such an amazing time last Thursday at the Emerging Professionals Architecture Trivia Night! A BIG thank you to our incredible sponsors LBYD Civil & Structural Engineers & MAK Engineering, without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible, and to Lissy Frese of CCR Architecture for being our funny and witty EMCEE for the evening! Thanks to everyone who attended and stay tuned for another exciting EP event coming real soon!
Click here to see photos from the event.

Career Center

Jobseekers – we have LOTS of jobs listed on the website! Don’t miss AIA Birmingham’s Career Page for the latest local opportunities.

Check out the AIA Career Center for all the hottest jobs and access to the Career Learning Center, which encourages an integrative career and professional development process that enhances your skill set.

Employers – post your jobs on the AIA Birmingham website! FREE for local member firms. Email Rhea or Sarah for more details.

Veteran’s Therapeutic Art Exhibit

August 23 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Opening Reception
August 23rd

5:30 – 7:30 PM
109 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd South

Exhibiting the work of combat veterans, suffering from PTSD, created through a Therapeutic
Art Program provided by the Hoover Art Alliance and the Birmingham Vet Center. The exhibit will be on display until September 19th.

Interested in sponsoring the event? View the sponsorship form here!

Exhibit Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


October 18, 2018
RTJ Oxmoor Valley
100 Sunbelt Pkwy

All proceeds benefit the ACFA’s educational programs & student scholarships.

Sponsorships available
Hole, Meal, Drink Cart, and more!

View the sponsorship and registration brochure here!

Purchase registration & sponsorships here!

We hope to see you there!

RSVP to by October 11th