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Xuemei Yuan: CMH Summer Intern

Birmingham, Ala. (August 1, 2013) – Bejing native and CMH summer intern Xuemei Yuan recently completed the Butler Plaza water fountain design, featuring stone-carved stallions. She admits to initially feeling timid about the project, but she explains that CMH President Everett Hatcher “taught me how to analyze the user’s problems from the perspective of an architect and how to draw elevations and site plans properly. I gradually became relaxed, and [could identify the design challenges] and know how to deal with them,” she says. “I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for an American to step into her shoes—speak a foreign language, navigate new software, and learn an architectural firm’s design approach,” says Hatcher, “She’s a hard worker and she’s made great progress.”

Xuemei is currently pursuing her Masters in Industrial Design from Auburn University, and says that the “architecture aesthetics and architecture knowledge” she has gained at CMH will definitely inform and improve her master thesis. She embraces not only the innovation and creativity in American design, but also the freedom in American culture, relishing her newfound free reign over the internet, including her very own Facebook page. It’s this newfound aspect of freedom she finds the most exciting. She recalls reviewing the fountain design, “Mr. Hatcher told me that this is America; you need free your thoughts and do something really cool. I really benefit a lot from his words. And I am trying to do that.”

CMH Naval Building Wins 2013 Design-Build Merit Award

Birmingham, Ala. (July 26, 2013) —CMH is pleased to announce that its recently completed project, the Main Exchange Replacement at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, has won a prestigious Design-Build Merit Award. Designbuild is an integrated project delivery approach wherein architects and contractors collaborate in all phases of a project in order to achieve budget, schedule, design, and construction goals. The 2013 National Design-Build Awards program was the most competitive to date, and submissions were rigorously judged by a panel of industry experts, looking for projects that demonstrate advanced and innovative application of design-build best practices.

The 150,000-square-foot, two-story full line department store includes a bank, pharmacy, food court, and parking deck. CMH not only fulfilled the green standards of excellence, winning LEED Gold certification for this complex project, but also did so while working within the constraints of an extremely tight site at the National Naval Medical Center. Alabama-based Brasfield & Gorrie joined forces with Michigan-based Walbridge Construction to serve as the contractor for the project. The design-build team will attend the annual Design-Build Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in November to accept their award.

“This important recognition validates not only our firm’s collaborative strengths,” said CMH Senior Vice President Michael O’Kelley, “but also our ability to create new and efficient-design solutions while adhering to strict timeline and working within a specific budget.”

Allen McCulla’s Woodworking

Birmingham, Ala. (July 24, 2013) – Allen McCulla is a Senior Associate with CMH Architects and has been with the firm for over 14 years. With a dual degree from Auburn University in Architecture and Building Science, he’s been the project architect for many complex projects, such as the Riverchase Galleria Renovation and The Shops of Grand River. On those projects Allen has had to solve complex construction problems. What does Allen do to relax? He solves some pretty complex problems that result in truly impressive woodworking projects. “You have to think about the details and how things go together,” he explains of the similarities between his career and his hobby. McCulla discovered his passion for woodworking in 2000 when he embarked on making a side table that he could not find elsewhere, and the rest—as they say—is history. McCulla enjoys crafting pieces that are most often given to those that are close to him: picture frames for his artwork as gifts for friends, a walnut gun rack for a coworker, a nametag rack for his church, a telescope tripod for his father (pictured above – Mahogany, Hard Maple with hand-rubbed Danish oil finish), and a stainless steel and inlaid wood bracelet for Mrs. McCulla for Mother’s Day. He explains that wood is a medium that offers a great deal of freedom as compared with the rigid guidelines often faced by architects. McCulla plans to further explore his art, creating sculpture, wood art, or more jewelry, saying “the design possibilities are endless.”

The History of CMH

Birmingham, Ala. (July 22, 2013) – Crawford McWilliams Hatcher Architects, Inc. was founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 1980 by Brandon Crawford, Jerry McWilliams and Everett Hatcher.  The original founders’ goal was to create a firm with resources capable of handling major projects, but personalized enough to enable them to infuse their own individual talents and interaction into each project that bore their signature.  Though small at first, Crawford McWilliams Hatcher Architects, Inc. grew quickly, doubling in size in each of the firm’s first few years. Now more than 30 years later, CMH Architects, Inc. has achieved the goal of its founders.  The firm is known for its innovative design of a wide range of developments in 30 states across the country as well as in Japan.  CMH currently has a payroll of over 20 employees, half of which are registered architects.  Founding partner Brandon Crawford retired in 1987 as well as Jerry McWilliams in 2010 – Everett Hatcher is the current President of CMH.   Currently, four more principals have established themselves in the company: Michael Tillman, Michael O’Kelley, Blake Nelson and John Wood.

CMH has designed and completed over 1,000 projects, both new and renovations, including commercial, light industrial, governmental, healthcare, religious, correctional and institutional facilities. CMH’s work continues to be praised by their clients as well as institutions such as the American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, the International Council of Shopping Centers and for the past several years, the firm has also been recognized as one of the top five in profits and staffing by Birmingham Business Journal.

CMH Naval Main Exchange Project Receives LEED Gold Certification

Birmingham, Ala. (June 21, 2013) — CMH is proud to announce that its recently completed project, the Naval Main Exchange in Bethesda, Maryland, has received LEED Gold Certification. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED buildings are evaluated based on fulfillment of certain sustainable design criteria, such as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality improvement, better building material choices, site sustainability, and innovation in design.

The 150,000-square-foot, 2-story design-build project included a retail component and a parking deck. CMH not only fulfilled the green standards of excellence on this complex project, but did so while working within the constraints of an extremely tight site at the National Naval Medical Center. Alabama-based Brasfield & Gorrie joined forces with Michigan-based Walbridge Construction to serve as the contractor for the project.

“We are always environmentally conscious in our design choices,” said Firm Senior Vice President Michael O’Kelley, “but this project presented specific design challenges that allowed us to create new and innovative efficient-design solutions.”

CMH Projects Receive 2012 ABC Excellence in Construction Awards

Birmingham, Ala. (Oct. 25, 2012) — Two CMH projects recently received awards from the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Excellence in Construction Awards. ABC is a national association which represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry. ABC’s philosophy encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach to construction based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

The Cullman First United Methodist Church was recognized with an Excellence Award, the highest honor, in the “Historical Restoration/Renovation Under $25 Million” category. Rogers & Willard, a Mobile-based general contractor, received the award for this design-build project. The 80-year-old church was severely damaged by the 2011 April tornadoes which devastated Cullman, Alabama, thus requiring the complete renovation and restoration of the three-story sanctuary building.

The organic grocery store Earth Fare, in Hoover, Alabama, was honored with a Merit Award in the “Renovation Under $4 Million” category. The Birmingham-based general contractor, Stewart Perry, received the award. Earth fare now occupies the former 27,000-square-foot CompUSA building, adjacent to Riverchase Galleria, and involved the demolition and renovation of the interior, as well as a new front entrance and new exterior finishes.

“We are honored that our projects have received these awards which highlight our skill and efficiency in the construction phase of our projects,” said Firm Senior Vice President Michael O’Kelley. “This is also well-deserved recognition for two excellent contractors—Stewart Perry and Rogers & Willard—with whom we are proud to partner.”