2019 April Newsletter

Happy Friday AIA Family,

The loss of our sweet friend Dick Pigford, FAIA reminded me the people we work with become our friends and work family. Dick was a friend and mentor to so many of you. I have received so many calls, text and emails about how Dick inspired and mentored them, kept them in the architectural profession when they were uncertain of their career choice. He reminded them why they chose architecture and the impact an architect can have in a community by engaging in the community – CARING for others.  He quietly led by example.

I met Dick fourteen years ago and worked with him on DreamARCHITECTURE, our kindergarten thru fifth grade art competition to inspire children to think about their built environment and consider architecture as a career option.  The awards ceremony is always held at SawWorks/ArchitectureWorks. Dick LOVED this program and EMCEED it every year.  He always wore a suit, bow-tie, pocket square and a warm smile that put everyone at ease. He would call each child’s name proudly as if they had just won a gold medal.  Some would beam with pride and others would shyly come to the front while he would ask questions and praise them for their creativity.  Not just a few winners, but all thirty to forty winning children, regardless of how long it took. He had a gift of making every person in the room feeling special, like you could do anything.  I wonder how many people a better person for are knowing him. I know I am. I did a very rough calculation of the number of years I know he worked on dreamARCHITECTURE, the number of winning children, attendance at the dreamARCHITECTURE awards ceremony (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, principals….) and came up with 2,100 people I know he made feel special thru EMCEEING dreamARCHITECTURE and left them with a positive impression of an architect.  I wonder how many thousands of people he touched in his 71 years with us. We are so blessed and fortunate to call Dick Pigford, FAIA our friend.

AIA Family – I challenge each of you to show the kindness and caring Dick did thru architecture. He was one of a kind.  Please keep his family and work family in your positive thoughts and prayers.

Peace & AIA Love,

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


Remembering Richard “Dick” Ireland Pigford

May 4, 1947 – March 31, 2019

View the obituary here.

Purchase Tickets Here!

RSVP to sarah@aiabham.org by April 12th

Presented by Elijah Davis with Urban Impact, the community economic development agency for the district, this is a discovery session that focuses on the cultural, commercial, and architectural legacy of the Civil Rights District. The session will culminate in a tour of the National Monument District and the Historic 4th Ave. Business District. We will meet at the Ballard House,

April 16th, 2019
11:30-1:00 PM
The Ballard House
1420 7th Ave North

Presentation – 11:30-12:00 PM
Walking Tour-12:00-1:00 PM

The Ballard House Project, Inc.,
 a 501c3 non-profit organization, is working to restore and re-program The Ballard House, one of the few surviving live-work structures, which was designed and built by African-American contractor Leroy Gaillard for Dr. Edward H. Ballard and his family in 1940.

The building is designated by the Jefferson County Historical Society as an historic structure. Situated at 1420 7th Avenue, North, the cultural space is located within the Birmingham Civil Rights District.  The facility is also listed on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure within the Birmingham Civil Rights Historic District.

A walking tour will follow the presentation. The route will consist of stops at the churches, park, motel, and three points along 4th Av. Only a few blocks.

We have permission to park in the 16th Street Baptist Church parking lot between 16th Street Baptist Church and St. Paul Church. The entrance is on 6th Avenue, North. This is right across the street from the BCRI. Street Parking is also available.


Sponsors, it’s time to Renew for 2019!

Click here to renew online! 

Check out the 2019 sponsorship brochure here.

Powerpoints due: April 11th

Jury: April 23rd in Austin, TX

The Structural Engineers Association of Alabama
cordially invites you to

Register Here!!

Erleen Hatfield, PE, AIA, LEED AP, has over 25 years of experience in the structural design of a wide range of complex projects including sports facilities, high-rise, cultural and academic buildings. She recently founded Hatfield Group a structural engineering firm based in New York. As former partner of Buro Happold, a global multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm and past principal at Thornton Tomasetti, she has a broad range of experience in the engineering industry.

Presentation:This presentation will share insights into the design approach of large scale, long span structures. A discussion of long span design, new materials and the implementation of new technology will be shared from the initial concept phase through construction. Stadium designs will be featured, including the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, that has a host of engineering innovations in its pioneering design. The 72,000 seat stadium features a 723′ long span steel retractable roof with 8 moving petals that open like a camera lens. The roof supports at the center of its span a 360-degree LED video “halo” scoreboard, the largest in sports. The geometrically complex facade is clad in single skin ETFE, a light weight and translucent material. In addition, the building is the first LEED Platinum stadium.

This presentation is extremely pertinent, given we have broken ground on the new $175 million stadium project at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex!! Read more about the new stadium here.


AIA Alabama State Convention

View the itinerary here! Click here to register!

Wow, what an educational and eye-opening Chapter Meeting we had with Greg Carden of Homeland Security! Greg Carden, Protective Security Advisor Homeland Security, shared what homeland security looks for when they enter a building. He discussed case studies & what went wrong and how the design could have made a difference in the safety of the public. We would like to thank Greg for taking the time out of his day to present for us, as well as everyone who attended, including the Mountain Brook Police and Fire Department!

“The March Chapter meeting presentation on “What Homeland Security Wishes Architects Knew” by Greg Carden was very informative and thought provoking.  As architects, we have so many things to consider in design, and often security design can be reduced to our own understanding, a client’s experience and standard code considerations.  It was interesting to learn about all of the many factors that can and should be considered in security design and how those differ depending on your client, project type and site.  As a healthcare architect, I left the meeting considering how the tools presented to us could be utilized in our projects to further protect patients, families, and healthcare staff.  In fact, it would probably be beneficial to have a similar presentation be made to our clients related to their specific needs and concerns. Thanks to Greg Carden for taking the time to share his knowledge with Birmingham’s architects!”

Alicia Pughsley, AIA
Birchfield Penuel & Associates

“The Homeland Security presentation was very informative. The presentation introduced different creative design approaches that can be incorporated in the initial design phase of new buildings or retrofitted into existing buildings in lieu of using costly ballistic materials which in some cases can be extreme or excessive fortification for the general public.  The presentation also has made me more cognizant of the different levels of security as it relates to building design such as creating secured buffer areas at entrance lobbies, reducing fenestrations at the ground floor levels and having exit only doors in inconspicuous areas at the exterior perimeter of buildings.  I will definitely be considering implementing some of these conceptual ideas in all of my future school, aviation and municipal projects.”

Clay Dorsey, AIA
Dorsey Architects & Associates Inc

“I enjoyed the presentation by Greg Carden with Homeland Security. Since building security has become such an important and oftentimes critical consideration in building design, I appreciated Greg’s insight into balancing building aesthetics with occupant security and life safety. It was interesting to learn about the different types of potential hazards and threats for building occupants. I thought Greg’s advice to incorporate building security during the design phase and not afterwards was good. His comments about the potential dangers of having open classrooms were also thought provoking. I was reminded of just how much architects have to consider when designing a building.”

Ross McCain, AIA, 2019 Past President
KPS Group


Women in Architecture Spring Mixer Recap

We had so many powerful and inspirational women in our gallery on March 19th! Thank you to everyone who attended our WIA Spring Mixer. Laughs were had, plus delicious snacks and libations, and a phenomenal tour of Studio Goodlight by CCR Architects! Studio Goodlight has succeeded in the AIA Design Awards, winning at Gulf State Regional, AIA Alabama, & AIA B’ham Design Awards! Thank you to Tammy Cohen and Leisa Cole for organizing a tour of the Studio.

Click here for the photos!


Emerging Professionals

Let’s kick off National Architecture Week at a site visit with Williams Blackstock Architects! (Pending HSW)

  • April 22nd, 4:30-5:30 PM
  • Lee Building
  • 1620 4th Ave South, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Parking: Street Parking on 3rd Ave S. or 4th Ave S.
  • Meeting Location: At site location, the corner of 4th Ave S. & 17th St. South)
  • Required PPE: Hard hats & closed toed shoes (we will have a few extra)

RSVP to sarah@aiabham.org if you would like to attend.

Site Visit to the Zoo with Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood Recap!

We had a splendid time touring the new Birmingham Zoo entrance with Goodwyn Mills Cawood and Aquatic Gardens! Thank you to everyone who braved the potential bad weather for this lovely tour & a special thanks to GMC for organizing this for us.

Click here for the photos!

Purchase raffle tickets here!


RSVP to sarah@aiabham.org

2019 Building with Bricks Recap!

WOW – what an incredible turnout we had for the 2019 Building with Bricks Exhibit! Our exhibit featured local projects from our amazing firm members, a private collection of incredible architectural wonders made of LEGO®, architectural models, and a design & build room for kids! This year, we added a scavenger hunt for all the project boards, ending with lots of oooooos and ahhhhhs over your project boards! Thank you to all who participated – we could not have done it without you!

Scavenger Hunt

Participating Firms: Adams Gerndt, ArchitectureWorks, ArcSpace Studio, CCR, Chambless King, Christopher Architects, Creature, Dorsey Architects, GMC, Gresham Smith, Herrington Architects, KPS Group, Matheny Goldmon, Studio C Architecture, Thompson Architecture, TRO Jung Brannen, & Williams Blackstock.

View the photos here!