Birmingham AL | Completed
This restrained yet exuberant design transforms a disused mid-century masonry building into
a social hub with collaborative offices and micro-retail spaces for small-scale entrepreneurs in downtown Birmingham.
With ourselves and Locke General Contractors as the building developers, there was a strong motivation to round out the retail spaces with creative tenants that contribute to an active, dynamic community. "In the spirit of an incubator space, the leases for June Coffee, Zephyr Barber, and Last Call Baking's streetside storefronts included design visioning and technical assistance, facilitating the build-out of their first brick-and-mortar locations.
The state-of-the-art design retains the bones, character, and evocative surfaces of the historic warehouse, while upgrading all systems and refining the street edge. The renovation emphasizes modern, minimal components set against an aesthetic of gentle industrial ruin.
The brick facade is preserved and punctuated with contemporary storefront frames created
collaboratively with local steelworkers. These frames and integrated awnings reinforce the structure, delineate the entries for each unit, and stream in natural light. A reframed roof at the rear allowed for the addition of clerestories to the lofty offices. Paired with the existing preserved skylights, daylight prevails.
The shared courtyard is characterized by salvaged materials, including a snaggle-toothed
wall cut from the original building slab—smooth on one side, graveled on the other. The refreshed building is named for the rusted industrial bandsaw found onsite, retained as a sculptural courtyard centerpiece.
213 25th Street North