Design Review: Uptown, Five Points South & signs

06.27.2013 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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After last week’s excitement, Birmingham’s Design Review Committee meeting was rather sedate with mostly signage and a residential update.

Forest Park Residential

The single residential project on this week’s agenda was a material change. In May, the committee approved an exterior renovation in the historic Forest Park neighborhood that would have clad a house in hardie board. The architect returned to the committee to amend the plans and change the cladding to stucco, which remains in character of the neighborhood and the house. The committee approved with almost no discussion.

Uptown / Cultural District

Steve Looney of Commander Board Signs Inc. presented signage for Octane Coffee‘s new location. Those already familiar with their Homewood space will recognize this new tenant when they open later this year in the Uptown development’s Westin hotel. Reverse-lit channel letters will be installed on two sides their corner storefront. The committee approved.

06272013tdbbeforeconstructionAnother business preparing to open in Uptown is Texas de Brazil. The Dallas-based Brazillian steakhouse chain will open their Birmingham location across from Todd English P.U.B. on Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd. N. The signage and elevation requests submitted by A.G. Gaston Design‘s Fred Keith included two outdoor dining areas, a panel canopy system, a red back-lit logo sign, and the bamboo planted in ceramic pots consistent with the chain’s design. The canopy, made of aluminum slats, perforated metal, and wood beams (for structural support) will wrap three sides of the building. The main entrance to the restaurant will be on Richard Arrington. After discussion on materials, the project was approved by the committee.

Five Points South

Two signage requests were presented by Wes Daniels of Daniel Signs. First, Sekisui Pacific Rim’s Five Points location requested the installation of signage mounted on a raceway track. The letters would be LED lit. The committee expressed concerns on the sign’s placement in relation to the chevron details on the terracotta building facing. They also requested the building’s owner be contacted to implement a signage master plan. The committee approved with one member dissenting.

Next, Daniels discussed new signage for Orbit Salon on 11th Ave. S. The original presentation included an aluminum framed sign with chrome letters and vinyl letters applied to the entrance for wayfinding. After a short discussion, it was recommended that the sign be reduced to simply the letters without a background. Then the committee members discussed how the sign would be mounted. Ultimately, both parties agreed to mount the letters with adhesive to reduce the potential damage to the stone façade on the building. A committee member brought up the inconsistencies with the building’s current tenant signage, which includes both building signs and canopies. The committee’s motion approved the vinyl door sign and the removal of the current illegal signage while asking for the owner to return with a signage master plan.

New committee appointments

Finally, prior to adjourning, the committee voted on recommendations for filling at least one vacant at-large committee seat. Three resumes had been circulated to members. Two – those of Craig Hennecy of Hennecy Architecture and Shelia Montgomery-Mills of Civil Construction Solutions – will now be passed along to the Birmingham City Council for consideration.

Twice a month, the city’s Design Review Committee convenes at the Auburn University Urban Studio to discuss and approve – hopefully – plans to make alterations to the city’s structures that fall within one of the many historic and commercial revitalization districts.

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