Author: ArchitectureWorks

New pavilion at Alabama’s Turkey Creek Nature Preserve expands education options

Turkey Creek in north Jefferson County is home to not only one, but three endangered species of fish, including one found nowhere else on the planet.

Meanwhile, the nature preserve just north of Birmingham that bears the same name is drawing ever-larger crowds who come to enjoy the creek’s pristine waters, the preserve’s hiking and biking trails and the popular swimming hole that stays refreshingly cool on even the hottest summer days.

Protecting the preserve’s delicate and important habitat while accommodating people who want to enjoy its natural beauty is a delicate balance. So is finding ways to cover the ongoing costs of maintaining the preserve.

A new classroom pavilion under construction at the 466-acre Turkey Creek Nature Preserve will hopefully provide a revenue source sustaining the preserve while also offering an eco-friendly amenity to further the preserve’s education mission. A recent grant under the public-private Five Star program will support the project in a way that protects the preserve – and the rare creatures that inhabit it.

Read more at the Alabama News Center website here.

Lake Pavilion awarded at AIA Birmingham Design Awards

The Lake Pavilion was recognized with a 2020 Merit Award by AIA Birmingham. Although the ceremony was a bit different this year, there was still a stellar lineup of projects. Congratulations to all of the other recipients!

At the Lake Pavilion, one hundred and fourteen year-old loblolly pines were given a new purpose after a full life located on an area golf course. Read more about this project here.


This pavilion is the ideal spot for an Alabama lake day

When a family was looking to update their lakefront property, they turned to Birmingham firm ArchitectureWorks to help them better utilize their space. With their children now grown, the family found themselves using their lakeside pool less and less. So, they decided to fill it in to make room for a pavilion where the entire family could comfortably gather to enjoy 360-degree views of the gorgeous surrounding scenery.

Read the full Birmingham Magazine article here.

AW designed Highland Park Community Garden is ready to grow

Today is the official opening of the Highland Park Community Garden! Designed by AW’s Carlos Hernandez, a member of the community garden board, this garden nestled in the Highland Park neighborhood of Birmingham has been many years in the making. Truly a great example that simple materials and a strong community spirit are all that is needed to create a beautiful, productive environment.

ArchitectureWorks Wins ACIA Top Block Award for Highlands School

The ACIA presents the Top Block Award to a firm in the state for a project of “distinguished design whose primary building material is concrete block”. ArchitectureWorks received the first award of 2020 for their design of Highlands School in Birmingham. Read the full description of the award on the ACIA website here or check out the full project write-up full project write-up here. Congrats to the entire Highlands School team!


Life Learning Experiences Built In

ArchitectureWorks, architects for the Creative Montessori School in Homewood, created learning spaces that put the student experience at the forefront of design.

Innovators in the architectural design of school focus on improving the student experience with special enhancements to the learning environment. Award-winning upgrades and expansion of the Creative Montessori School in Homewood prove a case in point.

Check out the full Business Alabama article here

Cayenne Creative and Brät Brot Biergarten Awarded at AIA Birmingham Design Awards

AIA Birmingham recognized two ArchitectureWorks projects with Merit Awards at the 2019 Design Awards last night, hosted at Brät Brot Biergarten in Birmingham. Both projects, Cayenne Creative and Brät Brot Biergarten, were also awarded by AIA Alabama this year. Thank you AIA Birmingham for another great event and congratulations to all architects and project teams who were honored this year!

Richard Ireland Pigford, FAIA – In Memoriam


May 4, 1947 – March 31, 2019

Richard Ireland Pigford, known to everyone as “Dick” or “Dickie”, passed away unexpectedly at home on March 31, 2019 at the age of 71. Dick was born May 4, 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of Joseph Harrison Pigford and Jeanne Ireland Pigford. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1968-1970 aboard the U.S.S. Everglades. After his service he attended Auburn University and in 1974 graduated with a degree in Architecture. Following graduation, Dick and his wife, Dana, moved to Birmingham, Alabama where he began to pursue his career in Architecture. After passing the registration exam, he founded his own practice – Pigford & Carraway Architects which later became Highland Partners Architects.

In 1995 he founded ArchitectureWorks and, through many years, his talent transformed places such as Highlands United Methodist Church, Independent Presbyterian Church, Camp Desoto, Pursell Farms, Indian Springs School, Birmingham-Southern College, Auburn University, St. Mary’s on the Highlands, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm. His work spanned residential, commercial, educational, hospitality, and historic building types. In 2019 he was elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects. Though his career in architecture included many award-winning projects, his true passion was forming relationships with his clients that so often became life-long friendships.

Dick was called to service. He was eager to offer his time, creative ideas and professional experience to community organizations throughout the Birmingham region. He served on many non-profit boards including The Cahaba River Society, Auburn University Rural Studio Advisory Board, Auburn University School of Architecture Advisory Board, Birmingham-Southern College Hess Center for Leadership Advisory Board, Create Birmingham, Birmingham City Center ULI Steering Committee, Kingston Coalition, Region 2020, and the Alabama Architectural Foundation. Dick also founded the Tuesday Group and Holistic Neighborhoods, each with the mission to provide professional design services pro-bono to underserved neighborhoods in Birmingham.

He loved the people of Birmingham and leaves behind a legacy of creating places for gathering and healing, none more so than his work at Morningstar Baptist Church and the Historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. He created SawWorks – a community space attached to ArchitectureWorks. SawWorks is the embodiment of Dick’s vision to create a place in the downtown community where people from varied backgrounds can gather to collaborate on issues that make Birmingham a better place to live. Through this space he championed SpeakFirst, DreamArchitecture, and Friends of Railroad Park, and he made the space available to countless other non-profit groups in the region.

Dick was a mentor, a poet, an artist, a soccer player, an Auburn Tiger, a basketball coach, a guinea fowl tender, a horse stall mucker, a singer, a dancer, and a dog lover. He had a gift for the spoken word. He loved a celebration. He loved you for who you are.

Dick is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dana Bass Pigford; his son, Richard Ireland Pigford Jr. (Jay), daughter-in-law Courtney Birch Pigford, and grandchildren Harris Rhodes Pigford and Ella Ireland Pigford; brother, Joseph Harrison Pigford, Jr (Betty) and nephews, Scott Pigford (Anissa), Michael Pigford (Chrissie), Patrick Pigford; sister, Catherine Joan Pigford.

The family is establishing a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham that will perpetuate Dick’s lifetime service to community and philanthropy. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial gifts to the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham “In Memory of Richard Ireland Pigford”.

Memorial services will be held Friday, April 5, 2019 at 11:00am at St. Mary’s on the Highlands, 1910 12th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35205. Following the service all are invited to a celebration of Dick’s life at SawWorks (ArchitectureWorks office) 130 Nineteenth Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233.


Cayenne Creative and Brät Brot Biergarten Receive Design Awards from AIA Alabama

AIA Alabama recognized two ArchitectureWorks projects with Merit Awards at the 2019 Excellence in Design Awards Gala last night at the Florentine in Birmingham. Thank you AIA Alabama and congratulations to all architects and project teams who were honored this year!

Cayenne Creative

A flourishing creative branding agency located in downtown Birmingham, AL found themselves rapidly outgrowing their existing office space, so they sought a new home in a former service garage warehouse that could meet the diverse and conflicting needs of their core operational departments. Following a deep dive into the agency’s office culture and future needs, the design team developed a solution that creates nodes of space tailored to each department’s needs while encouraging engagement and collaboration where the nodes intersect.

These nodes are arranged around, inside, and on top of an oak-clad volume that organizes space within the warehouse. The volume starts as amphitheater bleachers at the office’s entrance that rise to a mezzanine level offering relaxed, open desking. The body of the volume holds enclosed offices and support spaces that line two open bullpens framed by the volume’s voids. At its heart is a whiteboard clad “war room” that links the ground floor bullpens and offices, symbolizing the agency’s creative and collaborative core. The material palate and color schemes are relatively simple, neutral and high contrast, using broad swaths of material and color as a backdrop to the lively, creative process particular to the agency’s work.

The imperfections and irregularities present in the space were embraced and incorporated into the design. Miscellaneous oddities from the building’s days as a service garage were left in the steel roof system and painted a uniform white to leave textural interest while echoes of past improvements were left on the brick interior walls.

“I like the variety of workspaces and functions that they were able to create within that one shell – a great example of what the modern workspace can be.” – Juror Nicola Springer

Brät Brot Biergarten

This project repurposes an abandoned garden center into a contemporary take on a traditional German style biergarten. The owner and design team acknowledged early in the process that the quirky existing building and location of the concept in a Birmingham, Alabama entertainment district posed some challenges to the development of an authentic biergarten atmosphere. Embracing these factors led them toward a concept that cleverly reused existing building elements such as an overly-exaggerated, stone-gabled entrance, the galvanized frame of a greenhouse, and hooped shade structures while treating them with contemporary finishes, insertions and landscape elements. Visitors are greeted by a juxtaposition of modern and kitsch—planar steel and wood features contrast sharply with displays of surrealist taxidermy and neon. The large, air-conditioned greenhouse ‘dining room’ is designed around an enormous carved limestone bar and beer ‘fountain’ that is set directly across from a large, concrete Honduran wood-fired grill, allowing the preparation of the food and beverage elements to become a sort of theater within the lush landscaping and common seating of the dining area. Beyond the dining room is a garden of hedged rooms beneath the hooped pole structure of a former shade garden. Tea olive hedges form private gathering spaces directly adjacent to a white marble ping-pong table and marble framed lawn bowling pitch.

“I think it is commendable that they used the existing nursery building in its entirety, leaving it as a reminder of what the building once was, while with the limited means and simple materials, creating an ambiance that flows between the exterior and the interior of the building.” – Juror Fernando Brave

Dick Pigford Elevated to College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects

It is with great pleasure that we announce ArchitectureWorks’ Founding Partner Dick Pigford’s elevation to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects. Of the 115 Fellows admitted this year nationally, Dick is the only candidate from Alabama to receive this honor. Dick’s elevation to the FAIA recognizes both his leadership of award-winning projects and his dedication to service within the Birmingham community. AIA Fellows are recognized with the AIA’s highest membership honor for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. Only 3 percent of the AIA members have this distinction.

Dick’s sense of community stewardship was evidenced in the early years of his practice with the establishment of SawWorks, a pro-bono gathering space for local non-profit groups that is co-located with the ArchitectureWorks office. Many diverse groups have developed regional community projects out of SawWorks, among them SpeakFirst, United Way, Friends of Railroad Park Development, Cahaba River Society, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and Create Birmingham.

Additionally, Dick co-founded the Tuesday Group as a non-profit organization of local architects, planners, and engineers to provide low and moderate income neighborhoods with quality design services. This group helped springboard revitalization efforts in Ensley through its partnership with the Bethel Ensley Action Taskforce (BEAT). Dick’s successful career includes a broad range of project types – residential, education, commercial, retail, institutional, and religious. His expertise and passion working with diverse community groups is evidenced by his long relationships with Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, BEAT, Kingston Coalition, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm, among many others, through multiple projects across more than four decades since he established his practice.

Congratulations to Dick and the others who have been honored! Link to the AIA’s press release announcing full listing of 2019 Fellows