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Lakeside Dining

Tuscaloosa, AL – CMH is excited to announce the opening of the newly renovated Lakeside Dining Hall at the University of Alabama! Students, contractors, university employees and faculty, and other collaborators joined together on Thursday for opening day.

With 48,146 square-feet, Lakeside is now the University of Alabama’s largest dining hall with the capacity to seat 780. This renovation cost roughly $3 million and provides a renovated interactive dining hall, a new mezzanine for additional seating, and even a street taco concept that was the product of student feedback.

The contemporary food hall houses Asian-inspired dishes, gluten free and allergen options, vegetarian and vegan dishes, burgers, home-style plates, pizzas, a salad bar, and more.

The opening was a complete success, and we were thrilled to be able to play a part in this project and be there for the big day!

Ladies and gentlemen, Derek Carson!

This Thursday, we would like to spotlight our newest hire — Derek Carson! Derek was a previous employee here at CMH, and we are excited to welcome him  back to the family! Check out his Q&A, and also our Instagram Account @cmharch for Derek’s daily polls and fun facts!

 

When were you last a CMH employee, and what was your role then?

As you know… this is my second rodeo with CMH.  I left CMH (on good terms) in end of 2012.  Now that I am back, I recognize a few familiar faces as well as some new characters.    I even have the same desk and the same weird guy (Jeff Tosh) who shares my work space.

 

What have you been doing since you were last here?

Being out on my own was a rewarding experience.   I did similar design work that I did while at CMH. I now have more an appreciation for sales and marketing professionals who have to constantly chase new business. You work all the time – nights and weekends… but on the flip side you have a lot of flexibility in how you spend your time.

 

What is your current role at CMH?

I do much of the same things now as when I left – 3D renderings and graphic presentations.  My goal is improve ways we handle graphic job requests.  I also am the self-appointed “Director of Fun Times.” (see Instagram for proof of fun!)

 

Where are you originally from?

Huntsville, Alabama.  Even though I have not lived there since 2004, I still have a since of pride in all of my hometown.

 

Where did you study, and what was your degree?

I received my Bachelors of Industrial Design from Auburn University. War Eagle!

 

Tell us about your family!

Things are pretty crazy now-a-days.  I had a (1) year-old when I left CMH in 2012.  Now I have two boys – ages (4) and (7).  Both are school age and they participate sport imaginable. My wife, Jessica, sells text books and on most days makes sure I leave the house fully clothed.

 

What do you do in your free time?

Unfortunately between parenting, work, and cleaning I don’t have much free time.  Over the past few years I have fallen back in love with trail running.  It’s the only thing I will get up at 4 a.m. to do.  I have a few very long ultra-marathons coming up in a few months.

 

What’s your hidden talent?

I wish I had one!  There are some activities that I want to try in the near future.  My (7) year old son is a very good hockey player.  So I am strongly thinking about taking up hockey as sport.  They have a real good Adult hockey program in Pelham.

 

What’s your favorite thing about living in Birmingham (or the Birmingham area?)

Birmingham has come a long way since I moved here in 2004.  Its fun to go out on date night every once in a while to see what is happening in places like Avondale and Downtown.    I love the local trail systems around Birmingham – Ruffner Mountain, Oak Mountain, Moss Rock Preserve, and Red Mountain Trail.

 

What do you like most about CMH?

I am truly blessed to be able to go to work everyday and do what I enjoy.  Most folks cannot say that about their jobs.

 

Derek, we are lucky to have you! Have an awesome Thursday everyone!

The Burkholders Take NeoCon!

NeoCon is a conglomeration of manufacturers, dealers, designers, architects, and media who join to enjoy over 1 million square feet of cutting-edge products and services from incredible companies who provide access to pioneering design solutions.

Last month, NeoCon 50 took place in Chicago, IL. CMH had the pleasure of sending our interior designer, Katherine Burkholder, and our graduate architect, Justin Burkholder (who also happens to be Katherine’s husband) to the event.

The two headed out to Chicago on Sunday before the event kicked off Monday morning. Coincidentally, Sunday was also their one-year wedding anniversary! After dealing with a delayed flight, they finally landed in Chi-Town. Given that their timeline was shortened by the delay, they stuck to their priorities: architecture and pizza. “Sunday ended up being really rainy which led to the flight delay (the lake and river cause a LOT of fog in Chicago), so we only saw the Robie House (which ended up being half under restorations) and got delicious deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s!”

Monday morning kicked-off NeoCon. NeoCon 50 was the 50th anniversary of the event, and it featured over 550 exhibitors! “Getting to see so many products in one place is both very inspiring and very overwhelming. It was a great way to see what all is out there that you may not have been aware of before, as well as seeing the latest and greatest from manufacturers we know and love.”

Post-Neocon that evening, Katherine and Justin took an architectural boat tour around the city. “It was the best part of the trip. We went up and down the Chicago River with a tour guide that had so much interesting information about all the various buildings on the river front. He told the history of Chicago and the buildings from the very beginning which was very interesting to hear.” After that, they headed to Maude’s Liquor Bar for dinner where Katherine had her favorite dish of the trip. “It was amazing. I had a Lyonnaise salad with pork belly and gnocchi with mushrooms.” Justin’s favorite dish was the “gigantic fried chicken sandwich I had at a lunch with a  product representative at Cindy’s Rooftop near Millennium Park. The waitress also gave us some interesting lessons about the building’s history, specifically when the country was under alcohol prohibition. They recently renovated the space and found many spirits in a boarded up “Speak Easy” bar in the middle of the building that would have been illegal at the time.

Sight-seeing naturally required a selfie with Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”) by British artist Sir Anish Kapoor. When asked what her favorite piece of architecture that she saw over the trip was, Katherine said, “I really liked the Marina Towers by Bertrand Goldberg – which are lovingly referred to as ‘the corn cob buildings.’ They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing buildings in Chicago, but they have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them. They are also very efficiently designed with the lower floors being utilized for parking.” For Justin, he particularly loved 150 N Riverside. “Many locals call it ‘The Tuning Fork’ because of its shape. The site restrictions of the building required it to be built almost on top of the adjacent railroad tracks, so to maximize the amount of living and lease space, the upper floors of the building are cantilevered out on two sides of the foundation. The base of the building is only about 39 feet, but extends to almost 120 feet for the upper floors, giving it an almost 80 feet cantilever. Apparently, they had to import specialized steel from Europe to meet the engineering specifications. It’s incredible.”

Katherine and Justin attended various CEUs during NeoCon. Check out the write-ups about the ones they attended!

“Cultural Evolution Choice and Beyond”

As time moves forward and workplace culture is evolving, Cultural Evolution Choice and Beyond focused on change in larger corporate companies. The discussion was about the realization that people are more productive in their own personal ways, and that the office/cubicle is not the only place that they can/do get work done. This discussion focused on the movement to understand worker “personas” and to create working environments that are conducive to all types of workers. The idea is not about reducing office space, but rather redistributing it. Reducing private office sizes and increasing opportunities for respite and informal meetings to encourage people to get up and move from their desk to another space in the office – perhaps by a window if your desk is not located near one – and also creating transparency and accessibility with executives by not closing them off in a dark hallway. The most difficult part with this way of thinking is getting businesses and their culture to change with new design.

“Moving Beyond Open Plan”

This discussion focused on different types of working spaces and cultures over the years and their associative pros and cons: open plan, co-working, ABS (activity-based working), NCE (neighborhood choice environments), and MEMO (maker environments, mobile occupants). We then discussed how these types of environments can be tailored to suit different business needs by looking at case studies.

“Biophilic Design”

Biophilic design looked at case studies showing how embracing the connection between humans and nature within the designed environment can positively affect those inhabiting it. We also discussed various was biophilia can be incorporated into design.

“Beyond Green Walls”

Humans have evolved over thousands of years in environments that constantly change – be it audio, visual, thermal, or olfactory. This CEU discussed how we can create environments that better support human’s innate, hard-wired inclinations to be restored by subtly changing environments rather than static environments. The speakers discussed Attention Restoration Theory (which asserts that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature, or even looking at nature) and went over examples of how this theory can be incorporated into the modern built environment.

Southern Museum of Flight

small night

Currently on the boards is the Southern Museum of Flight. The new location will be situated along the Barber Motorsport Parkway in Leeds, AL.

 

Energen Renovation

Birmingham, Ala. (Aug. 19, 2016) – Happy Friday! The spotlight before the weekend is the Energen Renovation. Completed in ’05, Energen required additional office expansion space in an existing building adjoining their headquarters which was renovated on a fast track schedule to include offices, support spaces and open office areas.

Southern States Bank – Auburn Branch

Auburn, Ala. (April 16, 2016) – A new branch for Southern States bank in Auburn, AL was completed last month. Located on a prominent corner of N. Dean Rd. and Opelika Rd., it was a very challenging site for development due to wetlands on one end, bad soils, easements, setbacks, and other constraints. The site and building design were carefully coordinated to maximize the interior space while meeting the functional needs of exterior circulation and access.  The lobby was treated to a vaulted ceiling with clerestory windows to open up what would otherwise be a fairly tight and confining space.

Alabama Power Water Resource Center

Birmingham, Ala. (March 1, 2016) – March is here and time is flying.  We are taking a moment today to pause and reflect on an older project, completed in ’95.

The Clanton District Office for Alabama Power Company combines typical customer service functions with several services unique to this district where the utility operates hydroelectric dams and manages the reservoirs for recreation.  The challenge met through design was to integrate these varying program requirements while providing separate functional areas and entrances.  This was solved with a linear pre-function space that provides a link among the program areas, and serves as an access control feature for the varying program schedules at the facility.  The Alabama Power building, including design, site work and exhibit installation, was completed in eight months.  CMH received an Honor Award for the building from the American Institute of Architects.