Tales of a summer internship

We’ve enjoyed having our Summer Architectural Intern with us from Kennesaw State University. 

Rafael is a rising Sophomore from Dalton,GA and he’s learned a lot during his first experience working in an architecture firm! We asked him to share some of the things he’s gleaned from his summer at BPA & share some fun facts about himself as well!


What made you want to study Architecture?

The humble lego.. along with my want to create & my drive to make the world a better place through the built environment.

What’s one of your favorite things about Birmingham?

I love the extensive natural parks system & the Botanical Gardens.

What’s something you’ve learned during your summer at BPA?

Everyone is useful & team coordination is everything.


What do you like to do in your free time/ what hobbies do you have?

I love to read, meditate, travel, explore new cities & places and museums of history & the arts. I also love watching Broadway, enjoying the symphony & orchestra, and playing brass instruments & music.


Who is your favorite Architect through history?

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Goodluck to Rafael as he continues in his studies at KSU !



Meet our Summer Intern!

Get to Know Katherine! 

We're excited to have our Summer Interior Design Intern with us from Auburn University. 

Katherine is a Senior at Auburn & will be working in our Interior Design Studio this summer!


What’s one of your favorite things about Birmingham?

Birmingham is home. I have been born and raised here, and it is nice to come back to my roots. I love that my siblings work here, and that I am able to grab lunch with them or tour around parts of Birmingham that I never got to experience growing up.


What do you like to do in your free time/ what hobbies do you have?

In my free time I enjoy photography either with a client or just a friend that enjoys the same things I do. I finally graduated to a full frame camera this winter. I love crafting with my dad, antique shopping, hiking, reading, playing guitar, traveling, chasing sunsets (or sunrises), and spending quality time with friends and family.


What led you to pursue a career in design?

My dad is a huge reason why I decided to pursue design. Although he is medically-inclined I would always catch him sketching and drawing floor plans. When I asked why he would do that after working long hours at the hospital he would simply reply that it was therapeutic for him to create “beauty out of ashes.” It brought him joy to create and design spaces that he and others could enjoy. As I pursued this career, I’ve learned that it is about so much more than putting pillows on couches. It is about bringing life to things.


Fun Facts: I am the 4th out of 5 kids. I am quite the “adventure bug,” but I also find enjoyment in the small things. I have been bungee jumping and sky diving in New Zealand. I have lived in Italy for 3 months. I play guitar, and bonfires at sunset have to be one of my “love languages.”



Auburn University Hotel & Dixon Conference Center


BPA has strong ties to Auburn—several members of the BPA family graduated from Auburn University, support its various athletic teams, and consider the Loveliest Village on the Plains to be a second home. For our team, it is a great privilege to work on a project at our old stomping grounds for our alma matter.

The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center is a notable landmark for anyone traveling along South College Street through the Loveliest Village on the Plains. Last year, The Hotel debuted interior upgrades for its world-class conference center. Strategic construction phasing was necessary to facilitate the extensive renovations while allowing the hotel and conference center to maintain operations.

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Check out the project page to read and see more of the 21,000 SF renovation:



Mentone Cultural Arts Center

BPA has been working on something close to our hearts - a cultural arts center for Mentone, Alabama. As designers, we are honored to help develop this design that will support and encourage the arts and art education in our state!

Click here or read below to hear about the vision behind this project from the Mentone Arts Cultural Center (MACC) Board. 

"Art and music are woven into the very fabric of Mentone and the Lookout Mountain region."

"The mission of the Mentone Arts and Cultural Center is to provide education about this rich history in order to promote, propagate and protect it for current and future generations. Creation of the Center has been a long-time dream of many in this mountain hamlet. Plans are beginning to materialize that will ensure the reality of this dream.   

The facility will be designed and constructed for the general public of Mentone. Mentone itself is home to approximately 450 residents, but swells in size on weekends and throughout Spring, Summer and Fall as part-time residents and tourists come to the mountain. There are over 15 boys and girls camps that bring families from all over the country during the summer months. In addition, over 250 artists - known regionally, nationally and internationally - reside in the area and significantly contribute to the cultural fabric of the community.

Due to the high rate of tourism and a significant artists' presence, there is strong support for the arts from the Mentone town council and various local organizations. The town and local businesses open up its parks and green space and the local organizations sponsor a variety of cultural events and art festivals. Hundreds of artists from the region and elsewhere participate and draw thousands of people to the community to partake in these festivities throughout the year. Due to the positive economic and social impact of the arts and festivals on the town of Mentone, it is natural that various disciplines of the arts have become woven into the fabric of the town and surrounding area." -

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The project will be built in phases and the design includes:

  • a state-of-the-art multipurpose center which will include a stage suitable for theater, dance, and other performing arts
  • a wing that will house a commercial kitchen and restrooms
  • a sculpture garden which will feature native plantings, seating areas, and a life-size sculpture of Sequoyah which is being crafted by bronze sculptor Carl McCleskey and his wife Betsy Scott.
  • educational classrooms
  • a museum which will double as a storm shelter for the community’s use
  • a 450-person amphitheatre for outside performances and large gatherings
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Meet the Team - Alan Crotwell

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This month we thought it would be great to feature one of our favorite architects and Associate Principals, Alan Crotwell. Most would describe Alan as hardworking, fun, sincere, and the "go-to-guy" in the office.  One can usually find Alan at his desk feverishly working on a Revit model, talking on the phone with his clients, discussing soccer or beer, or helping someone in the office with a problem. He's currently leading one of the largest projects in the firm's history, and he's the perfect project architect to do so. He's detail oriented and doesn't hesitate to jump in to solve a problem. In addition to being a wonderful project manager, architect, and part owner of the firm, he's a husband, father to two boys, and helps out with Boy Scout groups and soccer teams. We're excited that Alan took a moment out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. 

We were surprised to learn a few new things about him as well.

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What made you choose architecture? "I was always fond of building as a kid. We spent our summers building tree forts and hideouts from scrap wood. I never designed anything that we built, but I always had the idea in my head from the start. In middle school and high school I really enjoyed art classes and took as many as the school offered. To be honest though, until my junior year, I really never put the pieces together until my guidance counselor mentioned that it might be a good fit for me. I applied to the program at Mississippi State and was accepted as an incoming freshman. I was apprehensive after I realized the time involvement but I stuck with it and I was glad I did." 

Have you ever had any other career in mind? "Of course. I thought about Engineering, or being a contractor, but neither of those careers would have fed my creative side."

What sort of music do you listen to? "I like a lot of different music. Alternative, Rock, Southern Rock, older country music and a little Rap also." 

What was your first job? What did you learn from it? "My first job was cutting grass and raking leaves for several of my neighbors as a kid, but I don’t count that. The first real job I had was a stock boy and cashier at Big “B” drugs at age 16 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It allowed me some independence and instilled a healthy work ethic in me. It was a good way for a kid to branch out and learn how to interact with customers."  

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What’s the simplest thing you ever learned to do? "Develop an effective or efficient use of my time."

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday? "Either playing with my kids, watching them play sports,  playing a little golf or watching some college football. I often find myself in the middle of an overwhelming project around the house also."  

What is your favorite vacation spot? "Because I don’t get to go any more than every few years, I have to say the mountains. I love to snowboard so any mountain with snow works."  

What traits do you most value in your friends? "Loyalty, honesty, generosity and humor."

What scares you? "I am not a fan of tight spaces."

Who is your role model and why? "I have many roles models. My father is a big influence in my life. He has all of the qualities that I mentioned previously. I have learned though that most people in my life hold a special trait that I admire. I try to learn from those people and use it to better myself." 




UAB School of Optometry


Greetings loyal BPA blog audience! We express our sincerest apologies for keeping our faithful readers in the dark about our exciting projects.

One of those is the renovation to UAB’s School of Optometry building. A significant portion of the work has already been completed, with the remaining renovations scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.

We’re proud to continue our relationship with UAB in designing spaces that empower our clients to bring innovation to the communities around us. The School of Optometry continues to distinguish itself as a top-tier program by providing state-of-the-art clinical practice and partaking in groundbreaking discoveries in vision science.

Peruse the project page to read and see more about the 18,600 SF renovation: And learn more about UAB's School of Optometry at their website:



BPA Young Faces - Alicia & Charlie

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Alicia Pughsley and Charlie Abram are two of Birchfield Penuel's prized emerging leaders--both of whom joined the BPA family upon completing their respective internships with us through Auburn University's Urban Studio. Both Alicia and Charlie lead by example with grace and a strength that does not command respect but receives very much of it nonetheless.


Alicia PughSley, AIA LEED AP

  • This is Alicia's 10th year at BPA! Alicia was welcomed to BPA in 2008 and has, over the course of the last decade, grown from being the youngest ever licensed female architect in our office to being an completely invaluable Senior Associate!
  • Alicia has also served AIA Birmingham's Executive Committee (EXCOM) for 8 years in several capacities: Councilor, First Year Director, Second Year Director, and currently as the Secretary.
  • In the office, in addition to being a stellar project manager, Alicia serves as a member of BPA's Future Business Advisory Group - helping to usher in vision and strategy for our BPA family for years to come! Additionally, Alicia is the mama bear-captain-extraordinaire of our in-house Digital Marketing team. She has used her passion for design in all areas and skill to form our team and continues to lead our crew through always-developing and growing ideas and techniques!
  • Alicia is the proud wife of Kevin, a middle school science teacher and coach, and also the super mom to two adorable boys: Maddox, 5 y.o. and Ian, 2 y.o
  • In the free time she has, Alicia is involved in her church, has a stationary company-side hustle, loves practicing her water coloring skills, and enjoys taking all three of her boys on adventures around the city, to the Birmingham zoo, or neighborhood park.
"I love problem solving.  Something about trying to figure out a problem or floor plan for a client is like a puzzle for me….and I love puzzles."
"I decided to join the BPA team full time after my co-op with them during my time at Urban Studio.  I loved the people.  I instantly felt part of a team and a family.  I also loved that I was included in project conversations and design from the start  instead of being pigeon holed doing stair details."
"I love going to various spots around town with my husband and two boys – whether it’s the zoo, the park, or various festivals and events.  Birmingham always has something fun going on.  I also love to take drawing and painting classes here in town when time allows."

Charlie Abram, Assoc. AIA

  • Charlie graduated from Auburn University's Urban Studio in 2015 and over his last 3-4 years at BPA has been a steady treasure - offering both dependable and inventive ideas and contributions on project teams and the variety of committees and groups he serves on.
  • To play along with the 2016 election year, Charlie was elected as BPA's "Chief Intern." And while the title might be slightly in jest, his role is certainly not. Charlie keeps all of our BPA Emerging Professionals tethered to their goals of passing their respective ARE tests and meeting milestones for licensure while also encouraging their participation in the profession as a whole. 
  • Charlie serves in this capacity not only inside our office, but also within AIA Birmingham as Emerging Professionals (EP) Director. As the EP Director, his responsibilities include facilitating the development of the EPs and serving as an ambassador and liaison between the young professionals of the AIA and the broader organization.
  • Don't let his exemplification of men's professional style confuse you, Charlie is an outdoor junkie. He loves to hike Ruffner and Red Mountain or go on an evening jog around Railroad park. Charlie is also very involved in his church community and can therefore be found around the city proselytizing about one of his three loves: Jesus, Birmingham, or Beyonce. 
I love SO MANY things about BPA, but the thing I appreciate most is the opportunity and encouragement to cultivate the career I truly desire. It is very important for me to have balance between professional development and civic involvement. I’m able to pursue interests outside of the office [and the profession], without being expected to compromise my growth as an architect or the project teams I’m able to work on."

"Since my first day at BPA, I have been encouraged to immerse myself into every project I have an opportunity to work on—whether it was going to last for 3 days or for 3 months. It became immediately apparent that new ideas were enthusiastically welcomed and were not considered a hindrance. Listing all of the things I learned during my Urban Studio co-op would take an extremely long time. But, the lasting impression that made me eager to return is just as true as it was three years ago: BPA believes that people are its greatest asset."

"My absolute favorite thing about Birmingham is the prevalence of great outdoor spaces within quick access of downtown. My ideal Saturday includes a few hours with a great book, under a shady tree in Railroad Park."

At BPA we believe our greatest asset is the people on our team. We pride ourselves on honing our design talents and empowering team members to grow as leaders during every phase of their respective careers. We’re extremely proud of Alicia and Charlie and grateful for the way they represent BPA so well!



A Sneak Peek at One of Our Oldest Projects...


We can’t say much, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to share some cool photos from this antebellum era structure. Be sure to come back to our blog or visit our social media accounts for more updates about this mysterious and exciting project!



BPA Young Faces - Allison & Micah

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Allison Vosicky and Micah Martin are two of Birchfield Penuel's brightest and youngest talents--both of whom we first met at the Auburn University Internship Fair. Allison, a South Florida native, made her way to Birmingham after graduating in 2015. Micah, a Birmingham area local, grew up in Homewood and was excited to return to his old stomping grounds in 2016. Both Allison and Micah are excited about downtown Birmingham’s design renaissance and were drawn by the probability of working on projects that would make a lasting impact in the city. In their short time with BPA, they have distinguished themselves as emerging leaders and essential members of our internal Digital Marketing Team.


Allison Vosicky, Assoc. AIA

  • As part of the Digital Marketing Team, she uses her interests in graphic design to distinguish herself as one of our social media experts—crafting many of our promotional images and marketing materials.
  • Allison is also a member of our Future Business Advisory Group, whose role is to initiate and refine strategic visioning for the company. As the youngest member of this committee, she ensures that the forward progress of BPA keeps design professionals from all generations invested in future visioning.
  • Outside of the office, Allison is an active member of several civic organizations including Junior League of Birmingham, AIA Birmingham, Sweetwater Outreach, and her local church.
“This is a little nerdy, but I’ve wanted to be an architect even before I even knew what Architecture was. My grandmother was a designer in New York City and she fostered an appreciation for design in me from a young age, whether it was letting me visit her studio in Manhattan and pour over her blueprints or gifting us VHS movies about Monet and Degas, and my first T-square! I grew up wanting to create and to imagine, and that desire continued to grow and develop as I approached design school.”
“What I love about Birmingham is illustrated in the fact that we can ride our bikes to the grocery store or any of the fantastic restaurants and breweries the downtown has to offer AND run into dear friends there – essentially, we can live an active, urban lifestyle and yet still benefit from a small-town community.”

Micah Martin, Assoc. AIA

  • Being the youngest member on the Digital Marketing Team, he keeps the team relevant to what engages the youngest members of the design community.
  • Over the past year, Micah has taken on the responsibility of ushering in a positive shift with our presentation graphics. In this role, he has exhibited great creativity with his intuitive sense about allowing the architecture to speak for itself.
  • Micah has had the opportunity to work on projects for several of our high-profile and longest standing clients, such as UAB Health System and the University of Alabama.
  • A self-proclaimed sports aficionado, he is always eager to discuss the highlights from yesterday’s sporting event. In his free time, Micah coaches youth soccer and is a member of an adult soccer league, himself.
“I chose a career in architecture because it offers a variety of problem solving opportunities, from the technical to the aesthetic, and a chance to shape the spaces and built environments in which we live.”
“I love Birmingham's beautiful, historic buildings, the music scene, and the great restaurants. My favorite thing to do on a Saturday is going to Avondale to get drinks with friends and to give food truck vendors all of my money.”

At BPA we believe our greatest asset is the people on our team. We pride ourselves on honing our design talents and empowering team members to grow as leaders during every phase of their respective careers. We’re extremely proud of Allison and Micah and grateful for the way they represent BPA so well!



Mercedes-Benz US International In Review

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As we begin a new year, let's take a look back at the completion of the 2017 office renovations at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama. With over 80,000 square feet already completed, we are proud to say we are currently under design and construction for several additional areas throughout the plant. Stay tuned in 2018 for more exciting updates!

Each renovation begins with a conceptual idea that is conveyed through a sketch, thanks to our very own Wallace Williams! This allows us to convey our ideas to the client before we begin the construction documentation process. So far this has been well received and leaves each area with a piece of art to motivate them for the future!

A special thanks to the talented Chris Luker with Luker Photography for these images

For more photos and information on our work at the Mercedes-Benz plant, visit our project page



Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving from BPA!

As always we’re thankful for our amazing clients, consultants, staff and their families.

What are you thankful for this year?



BPA Welcomes back Cassandra Hopkins

BPA is excited to welcome designer, Cassandra Hopkins, back to our firm.  Cassandra worked with us for several years before deciding to take some time off to care for her two boys.  Now that her boys are back in school, she's decided to join us again, and we couldn't be more thrilled.  


GET TO KNOW Cassandra! 

What's one of your favorite things about Birmingham?: All of the local stores and opportunities for shopping

What do you like to do in your free time/ what hobbies to you have?:  As a mother of two boys, I don't really have a lot of free time.  However, when I do find a spare minute, I love crafting, antique shopping, decorating for the holidays, and finding new uses for old things.  

What led you to pursue a career in design?: I love drawing, bringing new life to things, and space planning. 

Fun facts:     Mother to two boys (Judson, 8 and Carter, 6) and married 11 years to husband, Jeremy.  I'm a Champion Scarecrow Builder and I love to listen to Christmas music year round.



AIA & IIDA Board Members

Birchfield Penuel and Associates wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Both the AIA and the IIDA advocate on behalf of their respective professions to the general public and work diligently to support their members throughout their careers. The majority of the design professionals at BPA are active participants in AIA and IIDA. We proudly recognize the standout members of the BPA family who currently hold board positions in these organizations.


Alicia Pughsley, AIA, LEED AP, one of our senior associates, has served on AIA Birmingham's Executive Committee (EXCOM) for 8 years in several capacities: Councilor, Secretary, and currently as the First Year Director. In this role, she leads the chapter's effort on sponsorship and assists with the promotion of chapter events.  In addition to her position on EXCOM, Alicia serves with AIA's non-profit extension, the Alabama Center for Architecture (ACFA) as the chair of their DreamArchitecture Birmingham committee. DreamArchitecture is an outreach program that inspires elementary school students to explore their curiosity about the design of the built environment.


Charlie Abram, Assoc. AIA, one of our graduate architects, is serving his first term with EXCOM as the Emerging Professionals (EP) Director. As the EP Director, Charlie serves as an ambassador and liaison between the young professionals of the AIA and the broader organization. His responsibilities include facilitating the development of the EPs in their pursuit of licensure and encouraging their participation in both the AIA and the profession of architecture as a whole.


Maria Glaser, RID, IIDA, LEED AP, one of our senior associates has served on the IIDA Alabama Chapter Board for 8 years as both a Professional Development Officer and an Executive Officer. In her role this year as President of the Chapter, she oversees all activities of the Chapter and acts as liaison to IIDA International. She has also been Chair of the Chapter's primary fundraising event, ARTrageous, for the past 6 years. Beneficiaries of the event include the IIDA Foundation and Studio By the Tracks.


Melissa Porter, RID, IIDA, LEED ID+C, one of our associates has served on the IIDA Alabama Chapter Board for 3 years as both Director and Vice President of Communications. In this role she is responsible for Chapter communications, social media, and website maintanence.


Laura Yeatman, RID, IIDA, LEED ID+C, one of our associates has served on the IIDA Alabama Chapter Board for 2 years, as Young Professionals Liaison and currently as Birmingham City Center Representative. In her current role, she coordinates City Center activities with the Executive Officers and committees.

All of these individuals are leaders within our office, so it comes as no surprise to us that they have been chosen to serve with AIA and IIDA. We appreciate how they represent BPA well and positively influence the design profession of Birmingham.



Welcome our Fall Urban Studio Intern JD Duffie

We're excited to have our Fall Architectural Intern with us from Auburn University's Urban Studio. 

JD is a 5th year Architecture student from Lilburn, Georgia and will be with us for the Fall semester. 

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Get to Know JD! 

Proper Name:     Jonathan David Duffie

What has been something fun that you’ve discovered about Birmingham so far? :     All the great walking-distance restaurants downtown

What’s one thing you’ve learned in Architecture school:     When faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, just start drawing! 

If you could sit down and have coffee with an Architect living or dead who would it be?     King Solomon

What do you like to do in your free time/what hobbies do you have?     Reading, writing, drawing, watching my favorite teams play, having high-quality conversations, travelling, hiking, eating, drinking good beer, listening to excellent music, attempting to answer existential questions

Fun fact:     I’ve read 25 books so far this year



BPA Proudly Announces a new Senior Associate and Associate

Birchfield Penuel & Associates proudly announces Alicia Pughsley, AIA, LEED AP, as Senior Associate and Laura Yeatman, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED GA, as Associate!


Alicia Pughsley, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Associate

Alicia received her Bachelor’s in Architecture from Auburn University and is a registered architect in the state of Alabama. Alicia came to BPA while studying at Auburn’s Urban Studio program and has been an indispensable member of our team ever since. Her positive attitude and determined work ethic have earned her a role as a dynamic young leader in our firm.

Her technical proficiency and design talent have equipped her to serve some of our largest and oldest clients. On top of that, she has managed a team that has overhauled our web and social media presence. She continues to invest in the broader profession of architecture by serving on the Executive Board of the Birmingham chapter of AIA.

We are so proud of Alicia, the work that she’s done, and the leader she’s become. We’re excited to announce her as the newest Senior Associate on our team.


Laura Yeatman, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED GA

Laura Yeatman received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Auburn University and is a registered interior designer in the state of Alabama and a LEED Green Associate.  

Since coming to BPA, Laura has been a force behind some of our most exciting projects and new client relationships. Her experience in both healthcare and corporate interiors are allowing us to expand further into those markets than ever before. Laura is also heavily involved in growing the local design community. She is currently serving as the Director of Birmingham City Center on the Executive Board of the Alabama chapter of IIDA.

Laura is part of an exciting new era in our firm and we are pleased to announce her as the latest addition to our team of Associates.



Schluter Systems Headquarters - Montreal


Last month, Pam Lowery of BPI invited some of the BPA interior designers to make a trip to Schluter Systems’ North American headquarters in Montreal, Canada. Schluter Systems hosted a workshop to discuss the challenges in traditional floor, wall, and exterior tile applications as well as new technologies available to address these issues. Working sessions and seminars were given throughout the visit with topics covering building efficiency and LEED, tile installations, proper drain installation, water-proofing and moisture management. 

The ladies also made time to explore the cultural gem that is Quebec’s most populous city. They enjoyed a dining cruise on Le Bateau-Mouche down the St. Laurent River and under the Jacques Cartier Bridge, a walking tour of Old Montreal and the Port, a tour of Le Notre Dame cathedral, and a visit to world-famous Gibby’s Steakhouse.

A special thank you to Steve Brasington and William LeBlanc from Schluter Systems for graciously hosting the visit and to Pam for coordinating the festivities!



St. Vincent's 119 Sisters Garden

After our addition of the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Saint Vincent's One Nineteen, we were tasked with dreaming up a sacred space for the One Nineteen campus to connect the existing wellness facility and the new Surgery Center.

We held collaborative charettes with healthcare providers and caregivers that serve the ministry, and as a product of these work sessions, came up with the idea for the Sisters Garden. Our goal was to develop a space that welcomed growth, sharing, renewing of the inner life, persistence of purpose and reminding us of the spiritual presence in all of creation. 


The St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Sisters Garden is a sequence of outdoor spaces designed as a fundamental component of the St. Vincent’s Health System’s Healing Ministry. This sacred space constitutes a meditative garden and labyrinth, ethereal canopy and intimate gathering spaces. 

The design underscores the physical and spiritual centrality of the project. Each detail element reinforces the concept of suspension between introspection and outward engagement.  Cedar screens shelter visitors, patients and caregivers alike, while maintaining a visual connection to their surroundings. A translucent canopy arcs across the space, drawing passers-by into a moment of rest and contemplation.

Check out our project page for more details and photos:

Photographs by: Luker Photography



Welcoming Jennifer Smoke for the Summer!


We're happy to have Jennifer Smoke back with us this summer as an Architectural Intern! Jennifer is a rising 5th year at Auburn University and worked with us a few summers ago when she was a second year student. Jennifer is a native of Birmingham and loves being able to be a part of the great design going on in the city while she's home on summer break.

Fun Facts:

- Jennifer is a dance minor! And studies dance when she's not slaving away in the architecture studio. 

- Her default hair style is an afro! 

- She once worked at a sushi restaurant - so we will all be trying to glean sushi knowledge from her.  

Welcome back Jennifer!