2022 GFD 🏆 Awards

Gold Winner | Tuscaloosa Co-Working | BLUR Workshop

This project is situated about 9 blocks south of the University of Alabama. It is intended to help small businesses grow in the university area by providing a fun, creative and open co-working and tenant space in an attempt to help local businesses and keep students from leaving Tuscaloosa after graduating.

Global Future Design Awards 2023: Entries Open! 

Gold 🏆 Winner
Global Future Design Awards 2022

Tuscaloosa Co-Working
Office Building (Concept)

BLUR Workshop

Tim Keepers

Design Team
Scott Sickeler: Architect of Record/ PIC – Tim Keepers: Senior Designer/ Project Manager

Tuscaloosa, AL USA

United States

©BLUR Workshop

The client wanted to create a project that would help bolster up local companies and create an architectural design language that would fit within the context of the university town yet feel new and modern. Because the site is in a historical district there is a very limited material pallet which calls for a large portion of the façade to be of brick. The challenge was to make the all-brick building both fit in yet stand out among the surrounding structures which look similar and are all of red brick. As a result, we decided to use a large modern form which wraps the building serving as both an awning and the extension of the exterior work terraces. This modern form is juxtaposed by the use of brick for a majority of the building. As the brick was a requirement we decided on a grayish/white brick to help set the building apart from all of the red brick buildings nearby. A second method for modernizing the mainly brick building was to utilize two different window widths, in semi alternating patterns, to create a sense of rhythm and variation which helped to break up any large swaths of brick. Last, we had city requirements for onsite shared parking but we wanted to make the parking as invisible as possible from the street. Our soliton was to continue portions of the brick façade down to ground level, around the parking, via brick screen walls.

The building is situated on 3 parcels at a corner where commercial and low-rise multifamily structures meet. Right across the street is a red brick YMCA which experiences a lot of foot traffic due to its gym offerings. In order to create a sense of place in the community the main public offering of our project is a café at the corner of the site. There are really no food/drink offering near this area of the city so we wanted to be sure to give provide a community café which will also serve as an amenity for the co-working and office tenants. While the site may not contain much landscape, or change in topography, we do have to contend with a shared entry drive and shared parking spaces, via a right of way, immediately to the right of our property line. Because of this we were required to put back a number of public/ ADA spaces on our side which lead us to the solution of hovering the second and third floor above the right third of our site so as to tuck parking underneath.