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Alumni Honored

APLA Architecture Alumni Show Strength at State AIA Design Awards

One of the most meaningful measures of a school's quality is the
success of its alumni. It is terrific to see and read of our former
students making an impact in their chosen professional paths.
I hope you'll enjoy learning of these updates as much as we have!
—David Hinson


APLA Architecture Alumni Show Strength at State AIA Design Awards

Friday February22, 2013 the Alabama Council AIA announced the winners of its 2013 State Design Awards.  The design jury chose six Design Award winners, and firms led by APLA alumni, and two Auburn faculty, were recognized as some of the “best and brightest in architecture.” (

APLA would like to congratulate the following for their contributions to architecture in Alabama:

Design Initiative: 

Anderson Nikolich Design Initiative (DI), led by partner and APLA alum Marshall Anderson (BArch ’97), received a Merit Award from the Alabama Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the design of Professor Cheryl Morgan’s 2500 square foot residence, the Morgan Loft, located in down town Birmingham, Alabama. Morgan, the Director of APLA’s Urban Studio in Birmingham, had a desire to live in a down town urban environment, and approached Design Initiative to assist with the task. Professor Morgan worked with Design Initiative initially, providing the concept sketch, but credits the firm with developing her idea more fully. “Design Initiative saw the potential and good bones of this hundred year old warehouse. Strategic interventions transformed the space without overwhelming the character of the historic materials and structure. Thoughtful reuse of salvaged materials furthered the successful integration of the old with the new.” CADC Dean Vini Nathan describes the aesthetic of the Morgan loft as “a highly edited and stunning space.”

To learn more about DI, please visit:

Dungan Nequette: 

Silverock Thunderhouse —The 2013 Alabama AIA Merit Award winner, Silverock Cove pool house, or “Thunderhouse” was designed by Birmingham architectural firm, Dungan Nequette, led by APLA alumns, Jeff Dungan BArch ’93, Louis Nequette BArch ’93, as the centerpiece of the first phase of Silverock Cove lakeside residential development at Lewis Smith Lake. Intended to anchor the homes on surrounding the site, the project was designed to fulfill Dungan Nequette’s vision for the cove, where architecture “harmonizes with its natural setting,” creating “tributes to nature and all the wonderful things inspired by it.”

Large central glass panes are bookended by walls constructed primarily with old wood from a demolished barn and panels of corrugated plastic that are built into the exterior. At night the light from inside illuminates the translucent plastic” “when the sun goes down and the stars come out, the pool house takes the form of a paper lantern hanging in the trees just above the lake.”

Watch the video on vimeo at

Springhouse Restaurant—To provide home owners and visitors of Lake Martin with amenities beyond the lake itself, the owners of Russell lands worked with Dungan Nequette to create The Springhouse, a restaurant providing gourmet local cuisine and an elegant atmosphere. The Springhouse is centrally located as part of Russell Crossroads, close to most of the Lake Martin area neighborhoods and accessible to boat traffic.

From the beginning, the Springhouse design concept was about creating an appropriate response to lakeside living, and to create an environment that, from the exterior, felt unassuming yet elegant. As Phillip Morris from Design Alabama Online Newsletter states, “That it looks more like a collection of farm buildings is no accident.” ( design team reduced a potentially intimidating exterior building scale by using traditional farm-house components like the dog-trot and kitchen, lean to additions, shutter porches, and wood-sheds. Jeff Dungan said, “We always like to break down the scale of buildings, and the traditional farmhouse with additions and outbuildings served as the model.” (from Design Alabama Online Newsletter, Phillip Morris, July 7_2010)

Spatial organization within the farm house aesthetic corresponds in such a way with the many individual pieces that a patron has the opportunity to personalize their dining experience.
Visitors may choose from exterior dining terraces, a main dining room space with expansive views of the surrounding site, a loft space bar that alternately views the main dining area while offering patrons individualized adjacent “porch” spaces, or a partially buried “cistern” dining room. The opportunity to experience the Springhouse in various ways encourages multiple visits; the Springhouse has become a local favorite, and traveler destination, as you may re-imagine your stay at every visit. The Springhouse Restaurant received the 2013 Alabama AIA Honor Award.

For more on Dungan Nequette, please visit:
Photography / video credit:  Chris Luker, Luker Photography

Infinity Architecture: 

Infinity Architecture is a 13-person firm based in Montgomery, Alabama led by APLA alums Gary Greenshields (BArch ’85) and Yann Cowart (BArch / BSCI’85)  earned a 2013 Merit Award from the Alabama AIA for the AUM Wellness Center project, designed in collaboration with 360 Architecture from Kansas City, Missouri.

The Wellness Center project was a response to AUM’s desire for  a facility at the campus’s main entrance that would make a statement to students and the community affirming its commitment to lifelong wellness. The initial building concept grew out of a “bend and stretch” diagram as a metaphor for exercise and wellness, focused on openness and transparency to promote facility usage. It includes a gymnasium for intramural basketball, volleyball, badminton and similar sports, as well as an indoor pool with fitness and social areas. Multiple exercise areas have state-of-the-art equipment. There is a 25’ climbing wall, running track, stretching areas and multi-purpose rooms. An outdoor patio area at the south end includes a spa and bocce ball court. The academic portion of the facility includes two classrooms, faculty offices and state-of-the-art human performance laboratories.

Auburn Alum Receives Top state AIA Recognition

On April 6, 2013 Keith S. Kays, AIA (BArch ’66 ??) was recognized by AIA Memphis with the Francis Gassner Award, recognizing Keith’s outstanding contributions to the quality of the built environment in Memphis.

During his architectural career, Keith has focused his attention on urban revitalization, designing and managing hotel and entertainment projects, and the curation of Memphis’ historic legacy. Keith was an early advocate of downtown redevelopment and was responsible for the design of a number of adaptive re-use projects, including the 1979 Master Planning of Beale Street which re-established the historic street pattern that had been destroyed under urban renewal. As an Auburn student Keith used the  Travel Scholarship he earned by winning the Alagasco Competition in 1965 to  spend four months visiting Europe. “That experience gave me a glimpse of the importance of preservation. I have always been a proponent of Downtown, and breathing new life into abandoned buildings and neighborhoods was a significant part of my practice during the 1970’s,” he says.

The Francis Gassner Award was established in 1977 to commemorate an extraordinary architect after Francis P. Gassner, and architect who practiced in Memphis from the Fifties until his death in 1977. Gassner is remembered for his legacy of design excellence, service to the profession, and leadership to our community.

To read the official press release for the award, please go to:

Architecture Grad Named to Design Futures Emerging Leaders for 2013

Samuel “Jack” Basset, BArch ’08 has been named a Design Futures Council Emerging Leader for 2013. He is one of six professionals who is being recognized as representing the “future of design practice in terms of its broadening scope, service to society, sustainable design, and technological innovation.”  Basset has  served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program in rural communities in Utah and is co-founder of the nonprofit, Epicenter. As a DFC Emerging Leader, Basset, participated in the Design Futures Council 12th annual Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design. 

For more, go to:​

APLA Alum Named Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council

The Design Futures Council (DFC), a global network of design and construction industry leaders, recently announced the new Senior Fellows of the Design Futures Council. Nicholas Holt (BArch '93), was included among this year’s group of thirteen inductees. Senior Fellows of the DFC are recognized for significant contributions toward the understanding of changing trends, new research, and applied knowledge that improve the built environment and the human condition” and members are chosen annually by a selection committee of the DFC Executive Board. (

Nick Holt currently directs the technical architecture team in the New York office of the architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP where he oversees the detailed development and documentation for all of the New York office’s projects. Holt’s SOM bio states, “A believer in the benefits of collaborative practice models, Nick approaches design by integrating building systems, sustainable design principles and extensive construction knowledge from the conceptual development of a project through construction documentation and execution.” A proponent of evidence-based design development, Holt and his group of digital design specialists leverage advanced digital tools within the firm and from industry partners to optimize sustainability, performance and constructability.

Landscape Alumni Honored at ASLA Awards

The Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects is honored to award twelve projects and teams, awards for landscape projects across the State of Alabama. The projects were selected from a group of 23 entries from across the State that demonstrate the quality, diversity and care of work we as Landscape Architects, strive to achieve. The twelve recipients were selected with the help of the Pennsylvania Delaware Chapter of ASLA, and are seen as some of the best projects, landscapes and places found in our State. The winners were announced at the annual Twin States Conference held in Orange Beach, AL on April 13, 2013.

Analysis and Planning Category
Honor AwardRoss Bridge—Hoover, Alabama—Holcombe Norton Partners—Ross Bridge was conceived and planned as a new community, intended to combine the best characteristics of traditional development and historical architecture with resort style living. This was accomplished by the creation of a community with a full array of land uses including residential, retail, office and civic uses, as well as ample park and recreational uses organized around an elite golf course and five-star hotel complex.
Project Team:  Tommy Holcombe, Chris Pugh (BLA ’85), Duane Pritchett (BLA ’89)

Honor Award—Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System—Jefferson County, AL—Goodwyn Mills Cawood—As a locality known for obesity, automobile-oriented communities and damage to its most bio-diverse waterways, the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System Master Plan transforms the region through promotion of active and healthy living, use of sustainable modes of transportation, and protection of regional waterways. The Plan is designed as an implementation tool for municipalities and cooperating organizations with identified trail segment locations, design standards and cost estimates in order to supply the information needed to apply for grants to fund design and construction. Implementation was initiated with the plan being instrumental in obtaining $10 million in TIGER IV funding to construct 29 miles of greenways and trails through the region.
AU APLA Alumni on the team:  Brandon Bias (MLA/MCP ’08), John Bricken (BLA’97), Susie Fagg (BArch ’11), Cathy Gerachis (BLA ’82), Jane Ross (BLA ’82), Jeff Slaton (BArch ’02), and Laura McAlister (BArch ’08)

General Design Category
Merit Award—Auburn Campus Green—Auburn, AL—KPS Group, Inc.—The Auburn Campus Green at Auburn University is an exciting new park and campus lawn that has become the heart of the Auburn Campus. The $6.8 million Campus Green project was completed in 2008 and includes the 7-acre Campus Green, a transit street, transit station, as well as plazas and walks surrounding the central green and buildings.

Merit Award—Auburn Ped Ways—Auburn, AL—Holcombe Norton Partners—Auburn University Pedestrianization: Thach, Roosevelt and Duggar Pedways, Auburn University, Alabama In the 1990s, the Auburn University Board of Trustees reached the decision to remove automobile traffic to the extent possible from the campus core. To accomplish this, the Master Plan called for the removal of various streets including Duggar Drive, which ran north-south; and Roosevelt Drive and Thach Avenue, which ran east-west. A Master Plan was then developed, which divided these and other street closings into a series of projects that overhauled the infrastructure and converted the streets to pedestrian concourses.
Project Team:  Tommy Holcombe, Chris Pugh (BLA ’85)

Merit Award —Avondale Park—Birmingham, AL— KPS Group, Inc—KPS Group led the planning, design, and construction of renovations at Avondale Park, a 36-acre community park in Birmingham, Alabama. The project is a blend of renovation and new construction, with the purpose of re-creating a healthy, active gathering place in the community.

Merit Award—Elizabeth Naro Saia Garden—Birmingham, AL—Johnson & Co.—United Cerebral Palsy of Alabama believes in providing an outdoor environment that is a positive, healthy setting where children can learn, play, and grow. This barrier-free garden was designed to encourage curiosity and imagination while inspiring creativity for children at the Hand in Hand Children’s Center.
Team consisted of William Johnson (BLA  ’92)

McKinney York Architects Receive 2013 Firm Achievement Award

Architect and APLA Alum, Al York, AIA (BArch ’88) celebrates with his firm McKinney York Architects (www.mckinneyyork.com the 2013 Architecture Firm Achievement Award, given by the Texas Society of Architects. Recognized as the highest honor the Texas Society of Architects can confer upon an architecture firm, McKinney York now takes its place among a select group of influential Texas firms who have also received this award. 

For more information about this honor, please read the official press release at:

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