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Meet the Team - Tom Kidwell

Happy New Year everyone!  We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a good start to 2017! 

To kick off this year's "Meet the Team" posts, we thought it would be nice to feature one of our favorite architects and BPA Senior Associates, Tom Kidwell.  

Most would describe Tom as having a good sense of humor, thoughtful, very detail-oriented, and an excel spreadsheet wizard.  He’s even garnered a few nicknames here at the office.  One of those being “Iceman” because he is the self-appointed ice manager in our break room.  Those of us who love our drinks cold, are very much appreciative.  He’s also often referred to as “The Most Organized Man in the World” for his incredible organization skills -- no one here does it better. 

Above all, he is an architect extraordinaire who has managed some of the largest projects here in our office.  His attention to detail and focus make him an incredible project manager and a true asset to our firm. 

We’re thankful Tom took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.  Enjoy!

 

What made you choose architecture?  “It provides an avenue to directly improve people’s lives.”

What are you most proud of in your career?  “Having the opportunity to work with great clients on multiple projects spanning many years.”

Have you ever had any other career in mind?  “Astronaut.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  “I would love to see Giana and myself traveling with cameras in hand.”

What sort of music do you listen to?  “I like a variety of music.   There are times for smooth jazz or other genres of music, but for the most part my favorite is classic hard rock.”

Favorite TV show?  “If you consider comedies, the “Big Bang Theory” fits the bill.  I also like “Gold Rush” and other similar programs.  To be able to survive, and thrive, in that environment is so different from what most people experience.”

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? “My first job was cutting grass.  I had worked up to about 7 yards that I consistently cut for several years from middle school until the end of high school.  I also work in a motel from the time I obtained my driver’s license at 16 until I went to college working up from ‘busing’ tables, to bell hop to front desk clerk.  Both of these early work experiences were heavily centered on communicating face to face with people.”

What do you think is Birmingham’s best-kept secret?  “Our food scene as a whole is great!  We have a lot of great restaurants.  I especially think the many BBQ establishments across the city are consistently the best anywhere!  I’m generally on a quest for good BBQ when we travel and typically have found nothing better!”

If you could walk in someone’s shoes for a day, whose would they be and what would you do?  “Although this is a difficult question and tomorrow’s answer may be different, one would be Ansel Adams.  It would be amazing to be in the natural beauty of his day and time and to be able to not only experience spectacular scenery but also capture those images in such a powerful way.”

What is your favorite vacation spot?  “I love the mountains.  There is something about a cabin up in the mountains that helps to recharge one’s batteries.”

Make sure to subscribe to our blog to see our next "Meet the Team" post!

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Looking Toward 2017

     With the new year upon us and 2016 slowly fading in the rear view mirror, the Birchfield Penuel team is excited about the many opportunities on the horizon for 2017 and beyond. It is apparent that the entire nation is in transition, from our country’s political leadership to a shifting workforce demographic and significant technological advances that are revolutionizing entire industries. As a firm we feel change is a good thing, however each individual may react differently to the idea of a future to which we are not accustomed. As a species, we are creatures of habit, clinging onto the old and familiar until we are finally convinced that the new is  an improvement to our old way of life.  

     The inevitability of change is real and as design professionals, we not only have the ability but the responsibility to embrace these changes. As a profession, we are the forefront of advancement - the early adopters of innovation - and we should be the visionaries to help pave the way for our society.  Not only to insure that the world we live in will become more aesthetically pleasing, but to set the standards for the responsible stewardship of our surroundings and environment. Designers are and should be the forward thinkers, the problem solvers and sometimes the ushers for society’s conscience.

     Although the new and innovative is often seen as positive, rapid change may have its own disadvantages. When the vehicle we are in is moving too fast, it can be difficult to see all of the detail around us; to plan properly for what is just down the road. Our culture tends to focus on being ahead of schedule, only to result in a disjointed product in the end. The idea that was initially inventive and exciting becomes hollow and meaningless without the necessary attention to detail and proper planning.

     Not every project that we are involved in allows us to push the creative boundaries,  initiate media attention or a design award. These opportunities are statistically few and the recognition can be fleeting. Our goal should be to treat each project as a step toward the future, an integral piece of the puzzle that requires careful planning and attention to detail and an opportunity to positively change the future in an enduring way, if only incrementally.

     As a firm, our resolution is to continue to provide that extra attention to detail for all of our clients regardless of the budget, complexity, or  prominence of the project. We will work even harder to make it apparent as to why BPA has been included as part of your team.

“We value this relationship and every opportunity to assist you in the future."

- Alan Crotwell, AIA, Associate Principal


2016 BY THE NUMBERS 

2016 by the numbers final.png

A PHOTO RECAP

SOME OF OUR WORK FROM 2016....

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

Christmas Cheer from Hyde Engineering

Our friends at Hyde Engineering shared a little holiday project with us!

We got some good laughs out of it, and hope you do too. 

Check out their website at :

http://hyde-egr.com/

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BPA Service Project - Pearson Hall

On November 19th, BPA teamed up with Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center (ADATC) staff for a workday at their Pearson Hall facility in western Birmingham. ADATC is a non-profit facility that provides chemical-dependency treatment services. The team was able to make a significant impact in a short time with carefully chosen material solutions, brightening up the environment for those receiving treatment and improving long-term maintenance for staff.

A special thanks to Fred Armstead at Pearson Hall for allowing us to be of assistance for a few hours, and to the staff for their help. We would also like to thank the donors that supplied materials for our workday: Brown Sales/Acrovyn provided over 200 square feet of wall protection material; Sherwin Williams provided 12 gallons of interior paint; and Armstrong Ceilings provided 500 square feet of acoustical ceiling tile.

More information about ADATC can be found at https://adatc.org/.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving from BPA!

In all seriousness, we've got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

To all of our clients, consultants, families, and staff, we're most thankful for you.

You've made 2016 one of the best years yet.

 

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Happy Halloween from BPA!

Last Friday we had a double dose of Halloween fun. We participated in Dekalb Office’s annual pumpkin decorating contest that benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. Although there was some serious competition, the Birchfield Penuel team placed second with our Mario Kart themed pumpkins! As always, we enjoyed seeing the designs all of the other architects and designers came up with. We’re very grateful to join Dekalb Office in supporting an organization such as RMHC Alabama.

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Dekalb Office has more pictures from the event on their Facebook page.


Back at our office, we ended the afternoon with a costume party! We had a wide variety of movie characters, goblins, mythical creatures, musicians, and internet sensations in attendance. All of the costumes were great, but some stood out from the crowd.

  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- Most Original Costume

Most Original Costume

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

  Ken Bone -- Funniest Costume

Funniest Costume

Ken Bone

  Cruella de Vil -- Best Overall Costume

Best Overall Costume

Cruella de Vil

 
 

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Meet the Team - Melissa Porter

This month we thought it would be great to feature one of our talented Interior Designers, Melissa Porter. Most would describe Melissa as kindhearted, witty, stylish, dependable, and very detail-oriented.  With one of the most enviable design experiences working in Healthcare and Commercial projects, she quickly made her mark here at our firm.  In addition to successfully supervising and knocking out projects, she also manages to be a rockstar mom to two wonderful girls.  She’s an example of “having it all” and doing it beautifully.  We’re excited that Melissa took a moment out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.  We were surprised to learn a few new things about her as well.

Have you ever had any other career in mind? "Although I was considering interior design in high school, I started out college somewhat undecided, but loosely with a major in elementary education and a minor in music.  After my first (somewhat humiliating) music class I realized that was a mistake and immediately did the drop/add thing.  By my sophomore year I was settled on interior design and confident it was the right path for me.”

Favorite TV show? "TV??  Having 2 kids I rarely get to watch what I want to watch anymore!  I don’t really have one in particular since I’m still trying to catch up on binge watching several series.  After their bedtime if I’m still awake, my slightly twisted side likes to watch creepy shows like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead; my more serious side enjoys The Voice and MasterChef; but I still always get a big laugh every time I watch Modern Family!”

What was your first job? What did you learn from it? "When I was 17 I worked in retail at The Limited at Brookwood Mall.  Although I realized that sales is not my strength, it did help me to step out of my shell a bit and overcome some of my shyness.  I also learned the proper way to fold a shirt neatly!”

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday? At home doing laundry – it never ends!  But more frequently now we’ll be at an AHJA horse show with my 13-year-old daughter, Sydney.”

What do you think is Birmingham’s best-kept secret? "All the fabulous places to eat!”

What is your favorite vacation spot? "The beach!  Growing up my family traveled all over the U.S. and visited many awesome places, but to me nothing beats the beach!  Disney World is a close second!!”

What scares you? Heights!  They terrify me and make me queasy.  I recently had a chance to go in the “Ledge” on the Willis Tower Skydeck in Chicago so I could face my fears…but I wimped out.”

What things do you not like to do? Fold laundry, talk on the phone, and argue with my daughters!”

Who is your role model and why? I would say my husband’s grandmother, Louise “Grammy” Warren.  Although I only met her in my early 20’s she really touched my life and was always someone I felt like I could talk to about anything.  She was a great listener, never judged, and gave great hugs.  She was also very influential in both my girls’ (Sydney and Sophie) lives.  I miss her!”

 

Make sure to subscribe to our blog to see our next "Meet the Team" post!

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Three Points of Perspective

     You may have seen the headlines, “Millennials Overtake Baby Boomers!” And no, it wasn’t a coup. Instead, this past year Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in our country’s workforce. Whether this excites you or terrifies you, the truth is that we all work in multi-generational workplaces.  In fact, most offices boast employees from at least three generations. In today’s office we find that we have Baby Boomers working alongside Gen X-ers alongside Millennials.  Working elbow-to-elbow (to elbow) with co-workers of other generations can provide both challenges and opportunities. By understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of each generation, we can recognize not only possible areas of tension or dissonance but also opportunities for the success and betterment of all.

     The Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964) is identified as people born in the actual post-world war “boom” of births. Having grown up in over-filled classrooms and schools, these Boomers are characterized as being a group of team-workers. The Gen X generation (1965-1980) according to the Multicultural Advantage* “is known primarily as the first generation to enter the workforce after the first wave of corporate downsizing. This affected Generation X-ers’ approach to workplace loyalty and contributed to their entrepreneurial spirit. Where their parents lived to work, Generation X works to live, and work/life balance is also a hallmark of this generation.” Millennials (1981-1995) are the first global-oriented generation, having grown up in the age of internet. The most recent additions of today’s workforce, this generation is now made up of 21-35 year olds who are quickly growing in responsibility and contribution.

 
 
 Not only do these generations bring distinct skills and attributes to the workplace, but they also expect different things out of it.

     In an effort to accommodate the changing workforce, the physical office is evolving too. For years, a traditionalist-dominated workforce shaped a task-focused environment of perimeter offices and seas of cubicles. As younger generations inherited these spaces, they struggled to marry their needs with the constraints of their physical environment.

     Today, some research shows that the legacy of the cramped cubicle office farms can lead to poor environments, a higher sick rate, higher employee turnover, and lower employee satisfaction. Conversely, a contemporary office plan with less partitions and boundaries appears to not only ideally foster a community culture and creativity but also potentially saves money on square footage. These more open offices have statistically lead to higher employee satisfaction, more productivity, and less sick days. Employees and employers alike seem to appreciate the contemporary office because of the innate desire we all share to have a defined company culture, and to experience a sense of team/family.

     Glass walls at conference rooms and offices provide the acoustic privacy that Boomers require while encouraging the transparency and engagement that Millennials expect.  Versatile workstations accommodate a variety of tasks and a multiplicity of requirements that those respective tasks have for noise control, privacy, and levels of collaboration.  As technology evolves, workers of all ages have the capability and flexibility to work from desks, collaborative areas, conference rooms, cafeterias, office lawns, or home.

     As a firm, we have been involved in projects that research and re-imagine corporate spaces like these and what we have found to be true is that, interestingly enough, not all Baby Boomers favor closed environments, and not all Millennials prefer the open concept. For that reason, we should design spaces based on activity of groups rather than sweeping generalizations about age-based preferences. Additionally, designing different spaces for different activities allows users to choose their environment based on preference as well as activity.

     Having studied this inter-generational dynamic over the past several months, we were curious to see how our own office compared.  We devised a survey for all the members of the BPA family that aimed to capture the different preferences and values of our generations. We found that for some categories, our office fit in tidily with the trending data and typical generational definitions. However, we found some unexpected discoveries as well. At the end of this article we’ve included some graphics that will help give you a succinct picture of our data. 

     One of the more interesting discoveries we made about the value of the physical environment was that Boomers ranked technology as a higher priority than both Gen X and Millennials. We theorized that younger generations take technology for granted, or consider it an expected staple and this assumption could have subconsciously placed technology underneath other values for the Gen X-ers and Millennials.

     When it comes to what we appreciate in an employer, Millennials value “work-life balance” almost two times as much as Boomers, and GenX-ers actually valued the balance well over twice as much as Boomers. This coincides with the characteristic of the GenXers to be the most family-oriented of the generations. A value that showed a slight increase with age was “work variation.” Boomers appreciated having variation in their work more than twice as much as Millennials and Gen X-ers. Some values decreased with age such as “employee influence on direction of firm.” Boomers ranked that value lower than Generation X or Millennials did.  Perhaps because with age, that opportunity is proportionately more attainable. Overall, collaboration was the highest ranked priority among both Generation X and the Millennials and still ranked relatively high by Boomers. Pair that with the fact that “flexibility to work remotely” was prioritized pretty low by all generations in the office and it turns out that, at BPA, we seem to like who we work with!

      There are ways employers can be intentional about integrating multiple generations in an office and bridging the gap of skills and preferences. As one of our Principals, Chuck Penuel points out, “Without any doubt, the evolution of computers and the capacity of digital technology has had significant impact on all professional design services and the process of constructing the built environment.” Instead of running from the chasm that is this generational gap, we’ve striven to create a culture that avoids blanket considerations and instead leverages each employee’s unique skills and assets. Chuck continues to share that 

“Our approach at BPA has been one of leading, listening and learning from each other and building teams of complimentary, rather than identical, skills and capabilities. Critical in this equation is creating ownership among each member of the BPA team in the future direction of the Firm, from our social media profile to project design input.”

     Overall, we see that a multi-generational workplace is a rich palate of distinct skills, preferences, talents, values, and strengths. Older co-workers bring priceless experience - often having been working professionals for more than the lifetime of their younger coworkers - strong, lasting relationships, industry expertise and institutional knowledge. While our younger co-workers bring fresh ideas, stimulating energy, technological proficiency, adaptability and an earnest enthusiasm. The most effective way for us to work side-by-side is to not just simply cohabitate but to coalesce our strengths, skills and assets into a symbiotic mix that leads to the growth and betterment of all. This synthesis of our skill sets, along with a mutual respect for one another and understanding that all employees bring value to the table will produce a healthy, vibrant and successful work environment. Ultimately, we recognize that when we look to the next desk over, we see someone who is equipped with a set of assets and experiences that is altogether different from us, but who unquestionably makes a necessary and unique contribution to our firm, regardless of age.

*Notter, Jamie. The Multicultural Advantage. Convergence Media, Inc, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.<http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/group/mature/Generational-Diversity-in-Workplace.asp>.

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You're Invited! | ArtRageous

BPA is so excited about the upcoming IIDA ArtRageous event!  Come celebrate 10 years of art and design with the IIDA Alabama Chapter, benefitting Studio By the Tracks (studiobythetracks.org), the IIDA Foundation and the IIDA Alabama Chapter.

Entry is $15 online at www.iida-al.org, or $20 at the door.

Art from Alabama’s designers, craftsmen, and artists will be at silent auction, as well as art from Studio By the Tracks artists.

The evening includes musical entertainment at the Patio Bar, heavy hors douvres, and Egyptian photo ops, and features valuable raffle prizes from local vendors and venues.

Click HERE to RSVP!

When else are you going to have an excuse to wear Egyptian attire? 

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Meet the Team - Chuck Penuel

The BPA family has grown quite a bit over the past couple of years and we’re thankful for it and the powerhouse of talent that we have working here.  Because we have broadened our base, both in staff and project types, we feel it is important to reintroduce everyone to our family in a series we’re calling “Meet the Team”.

First up, we caught up with one of our fearless leaders, Charles E. Penuel, better known as “Chuck.”  For those who haven’t caught on, he’s the “Penuel” in Birchfield Penuel.  Most would describe him as smart, kind, and designer extraordinaire.  He’s usually found seated at his drafting table working on the next great detail, fielding client phone calls, or he’s patiently listening to one of our staff and providing them counsel on a project issue that has arisen.  If you’ve ever attended a meeting with Chuck, you understand why he’s one of the guys running this place.  He may be quiet, but not to worry, he’s thinking while everyone else is talking.  So, when he finally does decide to speak, he’s formulated the perfect thought or solution that usually leaves everyone nodding their head in agreement.  He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.  Heck, we even learned a few things about the guy we all love!  Enjoy:

What are you most proud of in your career? "My greatest source of professional pride is less about a specific building or design and more about in seeing the 30 year growth of BPA to include a staff of really talented design professionals collaborating on design solutions and the long term relationships we have enjoyed with so many quality clients."

What sort of music do you listen to? "Most of my music enjoyment occurs while relaxing at the lake or beach where my musical preferences include artists such as Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Darius Rucker and more recently the Dirty Guv’nahs and Drive by Truckers."

Favorite TV show? "My most recent 'appointment TV' interest has been the Netflix series Bloodlines which features the unraveling of an old admired Florida Keys family who turn out not to be who and what they seem."

What was your first job? What did you learn from it? "My first “show up and work all day” job was the summer I turned 16. I labored for a brick and block mason which included mostly lifting, carrying or throwing heavy things all day long. I did learn on my first day that there is a top and a bottom to a concrete block after stacking 100 units upside down and then re-stacking each one. That summer I learned that I could make a living with either my muscle or my mind."

If you could walk in someone’s shoes for a day, whose would they be and what would you do? "For me, I think viewing the green and blue of earth from space as the astronauts have would be a rare sight to see."

What is a book that shaped your career or life and what was your big take-away from it? "I read the Agony and the Ecstasy, the biography of Michelangelo, as a 3rd year architecture student traveling in Italy. The combination and timing of those three things shaped my attitude about art, architecture and design."

What scares you? "One of life’s scariest challenges is on the job training as a parent and hoping you get it right."

Who is your role model and why? "So much of what I learned that was meaningful about life and how to face the challenges it presented I witnessed in how my Mother lived it. So I would have to pick her."

Make sure to subscribe to our blog to see our next "Meet the Team" post!

 

 

 

 

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See the progress of St. Vincent's newest hospital in Chilton County

As Saint Vincent's describes in its foundation newsletter (see below), residents of Chilton county have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new hospital. St. Vincent's Chilton is set to open it's doors this coming fall and our team here at BPA has been hard at work over the past couple of years to bring the project to fruition for the Chilton community. As construction starts to wrap up, take a peek at some progress photos of Chilton over the last several months. 

BPA Project Team for St. Vincent's Chilton:
Russ Realmuto, Kim Edwards, & Maria Glaser
Photo Credit: Kim Edwards

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Project Update: University of Alabama Peter Bryce Main Building

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Project Update: University of Alabama Peter Bryce Main Building

 Recent photo of approach to Bryce Main Building.

Recent photo of approach to Bryce Main Building.

For over 150 years, the historic Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL was used by the state’s Department of Mental Health. Over time, the monumental facility was being under-utilized and was in need of extensive repair. By 2014, the patients at the historic Bryce Hospital were moved into a new facility nearby. Subsequently, The University of Alabama acquired the historic Bryce Hospital with plans to adaptively reuse the facility as a welcome center for the university and classroom space for the theater and dance department.

 View from one of the courtyards.

View from one of the courtyards.

 1970s photo of Main Building approach.  Photo from National Park Service.

1970s photo of Main Building approach. Photo from National Park Service.

 Cupola on Main Building.

Cupola on Main Building.

The original Bryce Hospital comprised of a four-story main building and six wings. We were selected as the architect to help the University of Alabama in their pursuit to preserve as much as the original building as possible. During the selective demolition and abatement process, it was determined that much of the historic structure could not be preserved; and, as a result, the two outermost wings were demolished. The remainder of building’s masonry structure will be preserved with a variety of techniques. In some areas, the interior load-bearing walls will be removed and replaced with a steel structure. The exterior masonry walls will be preserved on remaining portions of the historic structure.

The photos below reflect some of the progress made during the selective demolition and abatement process.

 Before selective demolition and abatement started in one of the west wings

Before selective demolition and abatement started in one of the west wings

 After selective demolition and abatement process began in one of the west wings

After selective demolition and abatement process began in one of the west wings

AL.com has posted an article with more information about the Bryce Hospital’s former use. http://s.al.com/y1sD3nk

All photos taken by Birchfield Penuel & Associates, unless otherwise noted.

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Birmingham AIA Design Awards 2016

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Birmingham AIA Design Awards 2016

Last night, several from the BPA family attended the Birmingham AIA Design Awards, held at Christopher House Antiques.  BPA submitted three total projects this year in the Detail, Adaptive Reuse, and Commercial categories.  Although we didn’t win an award this year, we felt very inspired seeing the design work coming out of all the Birmingham design firms right now.  Birmingham definitely has an enviable talent base. 

Congratulations to all of the winners this year! Check them out HERE.  

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BPA Service Project - Camp Stoney Creek

On May 14th, BPA teamed up with high school students from Central Park Christian School to move 30 bunk beds donated by Central Park Baptist Church to Stoney Creek Camp in Vinemont, AL.  These bunk beds will be used in the new dorm facility that has just been completed.  After a day of moving and transporting bunk beds everyone had the opportunity to enjoy the camp’s extensive zip-line trails. 

Stoney Creek Camp provides summer camp experiences at no cost to inner-city and underprivileged children. Below is a link to the camp’s website to find out more about the camp and their mission.

http://www.stoneycreekalabama.com/camp-2540.html

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Congratulations to our Summer Giveaway Winner!

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

Rachel McCoy has won:

  • 16” x 20” DS Art print. Artist Don Stewart describes Crab (Ocean Blue) as a beachcomber’s bounty of nautical knick-knacks. It was featured as a mural at The Crab House at Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. #234/1000
  • 20 oz. Contigo tumbler with straw
  • Extra-long beach towel (36” x 74”)
  • 20” diameter beach ball

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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INTRODUCING...

Summer is upon us, and once again we are excited to welcome a talented group of young faces to the BPA family. We've learned that pursuing young talent keeps our ideas fresh and our technological abilities sharp. You may recall that in March, we sent representatives of BPA to career fairs at Auburn University for both architecture and interior design students. Both fairs were extremely fruitful, and these new team members are a result of those encounters.

We're pleased to announce the addition of two new full-time employees, Micah Martin and Marlee Caldwell.

 Micah Martin,&nbsp; Intern Architect
 Marlee Caldwell,  Designer

Marlee Caldwell, Designer

Bachelor of Science in Interior Design             Auburn University

Fun facts about Marlee:

  • considers herself a foodie (loves to eat out and try new restaurants...or eat at some 3 days in a row!)
  • thinks her dog, Titan, is a human
  • spends most of her free time on the road visiting friends or going to the beach
  • killed a plant her first week of work
  • obtained her LEED Green Associate in Spring 2015
  • considered a VIP at Sam's Super Sandwiches

Micah Martin, Graduate Architect

Bachelor of Architecture                      Auburn University

Fun facts about Micah:

  • plays guitar and soccer
  • enjoys: live music - anything but country (under any circumstances); traveling, exploring new cities, and finding urban art
  • favorite writer: Kurt Vonnegut
  • leather worker (bags, wallets, purses, belts, etc.)
  • avid Auburn football fan (through good times and bad)
  • super legit at ping pong - challengers welcomed

Micah and Marlee are joined by a host of other students that have joined us for the summer. Asa Porter and Preston Rains are rising 5th and 3rd year Architecture students, respectively, from Auburn. Kelsie Perry has joined us to complete her senior internship through Auburn's Interior Design department before graduating in August. These summer interns meet a great need in this busy season in the firm's life and hopefully learn a thing or two along the way. They may only be with us for a season, but they will always be a part of the BPA family.

 From left to right: Asa Porter, Preston Rains, Marlee Caldwell, Kelsie Perry, Micah Martin.

From left to right: Asa Porter, Preston Rains, Marlee Caldwell, Kelsie Perry, Micah Martin.

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AIA Conference 2016

Last weekend was the 2016 American Institute of Architects’ Annual Conference, held this year in Philadelphia. It was an invigorating weekend with energizing speakers, hundreds of interesting seminars, city sketching tours, playful installations, the unveiling of new technology and gadgets, and even a historic moment. Here are some of the highlights below.


 Robert Venturi + Denise Scott Brown, recipients of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal

Robert Venturi + Denise Scott Brown, recipients of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal

  Denise Scott Brown, studying her 2016 AIA Gold Medal

Denise Scott Brown, studying her 2016 AIA Gold Medal

 View of the Expo Floor, photo credits: AIA

View of the Expo Floor, photo credits: AIA

 Neri Oxman, Keynote Speaker,&nbsp;photo credits: AIA

Neri Oxman, Keynote Speaker, photo credits: AIA

 An NCARB staff member showing a pilot version of ARE 5.0 off. photo credit: NCARB

An NCARB staff member showing a pilot version of ARE 5.0 off. photo credit: NCARB

 Our own BPA designer,&nbsp;Allison Vosicky, &nbsp;outside the Expo Hall.

Our own BPA designer, Allison Vosicky,  outside the Expo Hall.

Neri Oxman, an architect and a professor at the MIT Media Lab, was the Keynote speaker for Day 2. She captivated the crowd with a presentation on the intersection of technology and biophilic design, and the possible applications for that work in the future of design and architecture.

http://new.aia.org/articles/12881-neri-oxman-captivates-architects-with-mind-blowing-projects?utm_source=Real%20Magnet&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=2396434907&utm_campaign=96951729

In a historic, and emotional moment, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi were awarded the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. As the AIA states,

“The Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA can confer on an architect or architects. It acknowledges a significant body of work that has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. “

This recognition is so noteworthy because not only was it the highest award an architect could receive, but never in the award’s 109 year history has it ever before been awarded to a duo. In fact, the AIA changed their bylaws so that they could award the medal to both Venturi and his wife, and life-long collaborator, Scott Brown. Mrs. Scott Brown was escorted to the stage and greeted by a powerful standing ovation.

This years’ #ILookup Film Challenge was launched during the conference. “The I Look Up Challenge calls upon filmmakers to share their vision with a 2-3 minute video exploring the power of architecture to create solutions and uplift communities.” – AIA. To kick off the challenge, the AIA released a short film documentary featuring Rural Studio, a community design-build program through Auburn’s Architecture school that several of our BPA architects and designers have had the privilege of participating in over the years. Here are both links to the Rural Studio Film and the ILookUp Film Challenge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKqCE1V8u-U

http://ilookup.org/filmchallenge/

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Summer Giveaway!

Summer has arrived, and so has our next giveaway! To celebrate warmer weather, longer days, and aquatic activities, we’re giving away the following items:

 
 
  • 16” x 20” DS Art print. Artist Don Stewart describes Crab (Ocean Blue) as a beachcomber’s bounty of nautical knick-knacks. It was featured as a mural at The Crab House at Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. #234/1000
  • 20 oz. Contigo tumbler with straw
  • Extra-long beach towel (36” x 74”)
  • 20” diameter beach ball

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 June 10th.

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Auburn University Urban Studio Open House

Earlier this week, the Auburn University Urban Studio hosted its end of year Open House to display the final projects of the 5th year Architecture students who've been a part of the Birmingham based program.  This year's project had the students focus their efforts on developing a master plan for the Innovation District here in Birmingham, and within that, their individual final projects.  Their hard work and talent was evident in the work displayed. A special shout-out to our co-op intern, Krystal Duchene--we're proud to have worked with you while you were at Urban Studio. We know you're going to be successful wherever the road takes you. 

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