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54th Annual Alagasco Competition

Ning-Shi winning presentation board

Fourth-year architecture celebrated the end of Fall 2015 with the 54th annual Alagasco competition. This year's challenge was to design a new 150,000 square-foot assisted living facility in the Civil Rights District of Birmingham.

View the Gallery of winning images and presentation boards.

Led by professors Christian Dagg, Il Kim, and Kevin Moore, the project began with a plan for the Civil Rights District. According to the City of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan, the number of housing units in the city center and adjacent neighborhoods is expected to double. Such a significant addition of housing must anticipate a new but respectful character for the district. Adjacent to entertainment, recreation and medical facilities, the proposed assisted living suggests a downtown revitalized by multi-generational housing.

A panel of designers from Birmingham—including Marshall Anderson and Keely McCown from Design Initiative and Alex Krumdieck from Krumdieck A+I and Interim Director of Urban Studio—juried the final presentations. A shortlist of finalists presented their projects to the class, and the jurors explained their final selections. The panel was impressed with the complexity of the project and the adherence to urban design principles developed in the initial district plan.

Ning Shi won First Place with a careful mix of walk-up apartments on 4th Avenue North and two assisted living towers behind; the separate buildings define public spaces and defer in scale to the historic Masonic Temple Building (Robert Taylor and Louis Persley, 1924). Michaela Robinson won Second Place with a low-scale development adjacent to the Alabama Power Headquarters that creates shared gardens between adaptable living units. Third Place was awarded to Anna Daley for a scheme that defines a corner park across from the 16th Street Baptist Church (Wallace Rayfield, 1911). Honorable Mentions were also awarded to Olivia Backer, Sujin Choi and Jessica Walker. Awards were made possible by generous support from Alagasco.