Twice a month, the city of Birmingham’s Design Review Committee convenes at the Auburn Urban Studio to discuss plans to make alterations to structures that fall within one of the city’s many historic and commercial revitalization districts. This column summarizes recent DRC activity, with projects grouped by type and location. This edition of Design Review recaps the DRC meeting from February 8, 2017.
The old Giattina Aycock Architects office at Jemison Flats (1827 First Ave. N.) will get a new tenant, Navigate. The signage will consist of a logo in one window with a strip naming the states the firm works in spread across the remaining windows. The wood accents on the façade will be painted. Although the committee expressed concerns that some natural stone or terracotta items might be painted, the architect explained that those items were actually wood and that only wood items would be painted.
A second project for Jemison Flats was presented. Safety cable needs to be installed on the parking deck wall that is currently crumbling. Once the site is stabilized with the cables, the project will return to the committee for demolition approval.
A demolition and new construction project was proposed for America’s First Federal Credit Union (1200 Fourth Ave. N.). As presented, the one-story building on Fifth Avenue would be demolished and replaced with a four-story, 50,000-square-foot campus expansion. The expansion includes a large parking lot and a drive-thru for the bank. Concerns about the design being a very suburban solution were discussed, and a more urban edge to the building was suggested as a solution. It was explained that it simply would not work, but the committee requested more information on the investigation of the possible urban edge and an explanation showing why a more urban-oriented solution would not work.
Status: Approved, demolition; Carried over, plans for construction
After having this project carried over from numerous meetings, the representative from Side Bar (2929 Seventh Ave. S.) returned to show a more detailed plan for the new ramp and outdoor bar. The ramp is being rerouted to centralize the entrance and a separate ramp will be added as a passage to the main building. The wood structures will be stained a chocolate brown. An additional request to re-hang the string lights over the parking lot was also discussed.
The Atomic Lounge (2113 First Ave. N.) project returned to the committee to request an outdoor dining area. The decorative, steel-frame railing would be removable; however, committee members expressed concerns about stability and a trip hazard in the right of way.
Status: Approved, with the updated railing base going to staff for review
Second Avenue North
A three sided projecting sign for Morgan & Morgan law firm (2031 Second Ave. N.) was presented. The sign will consist of internally lit, slate-gray and burgundy acrylic and will incorporate the firm’s slogan, “For the People.” It was agreed that the attachments for the sign would match up with the building’s historic architectural features.
The neighborhood association approved a garage renovation proposal (2935 Carlisle Rd.).The project includes the replacement of retaining walls, the demolition of an existing garage, and the construction of a new, two-car garage with a room above.