Auburn University’s Urban Studio celebrates 30 years in Birmingham + future plans

Students at the Urban Studio working on strategic plans for Birmingham. (Auburn University Urban Studio)

On Tuesday, April 26th, students, faculty and others connected to Auburn University’s Urban Studio celebrated the program’s 30th anniversary with a reception at The Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting studio in Birmingham and what they have planned for the next 30 years 🥳

Auburn University’s Urban Studio — Celebrating 30 Years in Birmingham

Urban Studio
Auburn University’s Auburn Studio in downtown Birmingham. (Urban Studio)

Founded in 1991, the Urban Studio is a teaching and outreach program of Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction. The program is meant to give third and fifth-year architecture students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in key projects in the Birmingham area.

Admittance to the program is competitive—only 15 students are accepted each year. While third-year students attend the Urban Studio for a semester to get a feel for the program, fifth-year students stay for the entire school year. During their time at the Urban Studio, these fifth-year students work to identify a need and craft a plan to solve that need in Birmingham.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Auburn University’s Urban Studio, you’re more than likely familiar with their work. For instance, Urban Studio has been involved in substantial Birmingham projects such as the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market, Railroad Park and revitalization plans for College Hills and Graymont.

Here’s what two Urban Studio faculty had to say about their 30th anniversary celebration:

“I’m very much looking forward to continuing the work in and around Birmingham that the Urban Studio does. With our new building, we’ll be able to have not only more architecture studios, but we’ll also have landscape architecture, industrial design and graphic design to work with.” — Alex Krumdieck, Director of Urban Studio

“As for me, it was great to see former students at the 30th celebration and also to celebrate all that the Studio has accomplished over the years.” — Jennifer Cloe, Administrative Director

What’s next for the Urban Studio?

Hood McPherson Building
A rendering of the Hood McPherson Building in downtown Birmingham, the future home of Auburn University’s Urban Studio. (Williams Blackstock Architects)

Over the years, the Urban Studio has moved around several times in Birmingham. The Studio’s first long-term home was in the old Parisian building on the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 20th Street. Next, the Studio moved to the Young and Vann building on 1st Avenue North and 18th Street; next, the Studio moved to Pepper Place before finally settling in the historic Porter Building on 3rd Avenue North and 20th Street.

Currently, the Urban Studio is working with Williams Blackstock Architects to design & renovate a new office in the historic Hood McPherson Building in downtown Birmingham. Once the renovations are complete, the space will serve as an urban center for Auburn University—offering space for the Urban Studio and other programs in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer + Photographer

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