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Get Your Creative On

As Architects and Designers, we often look to outside sources and activities for design inspiration.  From looking at the latest magazine article in Architectural Digest to taking a local art class, we are always trying to feed our creative side.  

This past weekend, one of our own architects, and several other architects and artists from around the state, attended a 2-day watercolor workshop that focused on composition, drawing and painting buildings/landscapes, and studied light and how it enhances the environment, and in turn, an artistic sketch or rendering.

The workshop was hosted by Birmingham's own Forstall Art Center.  The feature artist and workshop teacher was Iain Stewart.  Stewart is an architect and painter, and he teaches watercolor and design drawing to architecture students at Auburn University.  He also travels around the world sharing his knowledge of watercolor, architectural illustration, and how to use it to capture a "scene" or just the atmosphere of a place or time.   

Day 1: Iain Stewart demonstrates watercolor wash tips and techniques

Day 1: Iain Stewart demonstrates watercolor wash tips and techniques

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates composition and value shading

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates composition and value shading

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstration and paint palette

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstration and paint palette

Day 1: Alicia's practice following the class demonstration on washes and composition

Day 1: Alicia's practice following the class demonstration on washes and composition

Day 2: Alicia practice of the initial wash following Iain Stewart's demonstration

Day 2: Alicia practice of the initial wash following Iain Stewart's demonstration

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates wash values and "saved lights" in paintings

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates wash values and "saved lights" in paintings

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates initial layout of a drawing using horizon lines and correct scaling

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstrates initial layout of a drawing using horizon lines and correct scaling

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstration on darker washes

Day 2: Iain Stewart demonstration on darker washes

Day 2: Alicia's final rendering

Day 2: Alicia's final rendering

We highly recommend attending one of his workshops if you have a chance. You will most certainly come away feeling more knowledgeable and inspired.  

If watercolor isn't your cup of tea, Birmingham has a number of other classes available around town.  Check out these websites for a list of workshops and classes near you.  Get your creative mind going with painting, pottery, cooking, music, woodworking, or even screen printing.  The possibilities and inspiration are endless. 

Photo Credits: Alicia Pughsley, Architect and Associate at BPA

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B'ham Rising: Spring has Sprung

You’ve probably noticed a change in your surroundings over the last couple of weeks. The cold tones of winter have melted away to be replaced with a panoply of the brightest greens and purest blues you’ve ever seen. Spring has sprung in Birmingham and there’s no better time to be outside in our city! Birmingham has a wealth of public outdoor space and its calling your name.

Situated at the very center of downtown, Railroad Park is the heart of the outdoor energy of our city. The park occupies 4 full city blocks and has been the catalyst for much of the growth our urban core has seen since its opening in 2010. Lovingly known as the city’s “front yard,” the lives of its residents are on full display. Grab the hand of someone you love and wander the landscape as trains glide by like kinetic sculpture. Find the workout of your life and some unexpected friendships at one of the park’s free exercise classes. Whatever you do, come and experience for yourself the range of activities Railroad Park has to offer.

If you’re looking for more of a walk on the wild side, you need look no further than the edge of the city center. Two former mining camps have been repurposed as nature preserves that offer more rugged experiences for the bold among us. Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve has a network of wooded trails that will make you forget you’re in the middle of one of the city’s resurgent neighborhoods. Red Mountain Park is one of Birmingham’s newest outdoor spaces. Thrill seekers will enjoy the park’s many adventures, including the Red Ore zip-line tour.

The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System is the name given to a vision for connecting the many cherished outdoor spaces Birmingham has to offer. Far from a pipe dream, the first of the systems many trails has been constructed and is open to the public. The crown jewel of the trail is Rotary Trail Park, where the trail runs four blocks through a former rail line that is sunken many feet below street level. Set to open next week, Rotary Trail Park is unlike anything you have encountered in Birmingham or beyond.

Your outdoor opportunities are not limited to those listed here. Walk along the historic, tree-lined Highland Avenue. Take in the urban theatre all around you as you dine street-side at a downtown café. It doesn’t really matter what you do so long as it’s outside. A brand new Birmingham is waiting for you.

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Congratulations to our Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our giveaway!  We're excited to announce our two winners!

Jessica Gemeinhart has won the YellowHammer Creative Sloss Poster

Susan Roberts McWilliams has won the YellowHammer Creative "It's Nice to Have You in Birmingham" shirt

Make sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep a lookout for our next giveaway!

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GIVEAWAY ENDS TONIGHT!

GIVEAWAY ENDS TONIGHT!!

This is your last chance to enter to win some awesome Birmingham paraphernalia designed by Yellowhammer Creative. We'll be ending the giveaway tonight at MIDNIGHT (CT). Tomorrow we'll draw two names and announce the lucky recipients! Don't miss out on this chance!

How do you enter to win you ask?

01. GO to our Facebook page ! (click on the little facebook logo below!)

02. LIKE our original Giveaway post & SHARE our page to be entered to win! 

03. FOLLOW us on Instagram for an additional entry.

 

 

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BPA Paint Party

A subtle, yet effective, update to our color palette was the first order of business.

A subtle, yet effective, update to our color palette was the first order of business.

The spirit of change is permeating through the freshly painted walls here at BPA! We kicked off the process of office improvements with a paint party on Saturday. The transformation to our workspace is exciting, and this is just the beginning! We can’t wait to share the progress with you in the upcoming weeks.

Giveaway Update! There is still time to enter our giveaway where you can be entered to win a t-shirt and print from Yellowhammer Creative. We’ll announce the winner this Friday, March 18th!

For a chance to win:

LIKE our Facebook post and SHARE our Facebook page.

FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter for an additional entry.

Before the work began.

Before the work began.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Rendering of what we're working towards -- a sleek and modern, yet warm and inviting entrance to BPA.

Rendering of what we're working towards -- a sleek and modern, yet warm and inviting entrance to BPA.

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Auburn Internship Fair Recap

We had a great time at the Auburn University AIAS Internship Fair! The Auburn students brought their best, and we were definitely impressed! Those of you that interviewed with us had the opportunity to see some of our work through a virtual reality headset, and you were also entered in a drawing to win a virtual reality headset of your own. Congratulations to the giveaway winner, 4th year student Carley Chastain!

It was a pleasure to meet all of you. We wish you the best of luck on your studio projects and your futures!

Also, don't forget that we have another giveaway coming up on March 18th! More information can be found here: http://www.bpa.net/blog/2016/2/29/its-giveaway-time and our social media accounts.

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NCIDQ Practice Practicum

Over the weekend, interior designers at BPA took part in the NCIDQ Spring Practice Practicum on both the testing and the grading sides. What is a practice Practicum, you ask? It’s a mock exam for the hand-drafting portion of the NCIDQ Exams set up by the IIDA Alabama chapter to help designers prepare for the actual exam on April 2nd.

Never heard of NCIDQ? No one explains it better than NCIDQ themselves:

"The Council for Interior Design Qualification, or CIDQ, is the global leader in establishing standards of competence for interior design/interior architecture professionals. 
CIDQ protects public health, safety and welfare by identifying interior designers who have the knowledge and experience to create interior spaces that are not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional and safe.
Interior designers who meet the eligibility requirements for education and experience and pass the rigorous NCIDQ Exam are assigned a unique NCIDQ Certification number that attests to their qualifications for employers, state regulators and the general public."

There are three parts to the NCIDQ Exams: two multiple-choice, computer based exams (IDFX & IDPX) and a hand-drafting portion called the Practicum that includes 7 timed exercises to demonstrate knowledge of space planning, lighting design, life safety, egress, accessibility compliance, building systems integration and millwork design. 

BPA currently has four NCIDQ Certified Interior Designers who are Registered in the State of Alabama, including one who sat as Chairman of the Board from 2005-2013.

Check out www.NCIDQexam.org to learn more about the examination process and what it means to be a certified interior designer.

 

Quote from: www.NCIDQexam.org

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It's Giveaway Time!

We're excited to be giving away the following from one of our favorite Birmingham design companies Yellowhammer Creative!
--Yellowhammer Creative 12"x18" print. This is the fourth design in the ongoing "Neighborhood Drawing" series of Birmingham. Hand Printed, 4 color, on French cover stock. #58/75
--Yellowhammer Creative "It's nice to have you in Birmingham" shirt!

For a chance to win:

LIKE our Facebook post and SHARE our Facebook page to be entered to win!

FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter for an additional entry

We'll announce the winner on March 18th.

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Opportunity and Growth at BPA

Growth and change are in the air around here. The transformation of our city we're documenting in our B'ham Rising blog series is mirrored in the growth of our firm. While continuing to faithfully serve the clients we've worked with for years, new opportunities continue to knock on our door. It seems like we're daily welcoming new clients to the BPA family and new project types to our capabilities. This growth has given us an even more active role in the shaping of our city.

This kind of growth brings new faces and fresh ideas. One of the ways we plan to pursue these is through our participation in the Internship Fair put on by the Auburn University School of Architecture. Students submit résumés and work samples for our review, and we'll spend two days in March getting to know the best and brightest Auburn has to offer. We can't wait for this opportunity. Get ready Auburn students, we're coming to you.

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B'ham Rising : An Introduction

The city of Birmingham is being transformed right before our eyes. The Magic City benefits from a unique combination of resources that led to the city's early development and continued growth. However, Birmingham's population peaked in the 1950s and has since suffered from the effects of suburban sprawl. The steady migration of people out of the city has been reversed thanks to a concentrated effort to bring people, activity, culture and life back to the city's urban core. Recent reinvestment in the city's downtown neighborhoods has increased momentum behind the rapid growth. This revitalization of the city is not only attracting locals back into the downtown areas, but is also garnering attention across the nation. Just check out this link from Lonely Planet: 

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/the-south/birmingham/travel-tips-and-articles/birmingham-alabama-the-souths-newest-rising-star

Birmingham is more than just a resilient, Southern city rising from the ashes; Birmingham is BPA's home. It is exciting to witness the change as spectators, but more so, it is an honor to use our design talents to contribute to the revitalization of our city. Visit our blog in the future to read more about some of the things that we love about the city we call home.

 

 


Photo Credit: Charlie Abram, Graduate Architect at BPA

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Launching our firm's new website!

We're growing. We're transforming. You may have noticed that our look is changing too. From business cards to publications, our brand is catching up to the firm we have become today.

One of the biggest renovations we've made is to our website. We're working hard to ensure that we maximize this tool to keep you informed and inspired. Many of our clients have worked with us so long, they know us as well as we know ourselves. For relationships old and new, we've built a platform you'll want to visit again and again.

At BPA, we say that everything is a design challenge. We're having a blast leveraging this one to create an updated look for us and a better experience for you. Be sure to check back in regularly for updates.

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