Page N1.1 . 20 August 2003                     
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    Southern Architectural Comforts

    by ArchitectureWeek

    The Gulf States Region AIA chapter, representing five U.S. states, has recently announced its annual design awards for 2003. This regional chapter of the American Institute of Architects, named for its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, represents the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

    One of the five merit awards went to Harrison Galleries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, designed by Elizabeth S. Alter, Architect. The building had once housed a drugstore, whose traces remain in the new art gallery for oil paintings and contemporary photography. The original pressed-metal ceiling pattern was replicated in new ceiling tiles. Most of the tile floor was replaced with oak, but the original decorative mosaic logo at the entry was preserved.

    Despite nods to the original structure, the gallery space is thoroughly modern. To enhance daylight in the long, narrow 19- by 118-foot (6- by 36-meter) building, the storefront was replaced with mullion-free structural glass. A structural glass soffit over the entry supports foot traffic on the upper level. A curved, leather-clad wall encloses a serpentine stair connecting the two levels.

    Another award recipient, the Golden Residence in Mandeville, Louisiana, by W. Geoff Gjertson, AIA, is described as a modern transformation of the traditional southern "Charleston side-porch" house. The 1,904-square-foot (177-square-meter) house, designed for a single artist, has a simple shed roof and tapering front porch, calling attention to the view through several French doors out to an undeveloped wetlands area.   >>>

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    A former drugstore converted to the Harrison Galleries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, designed by Elizabeth S. Alter, Architect, was one of the merit award winners in the Gulf States Region AIA chapter.
    Photo: Jim Harrison

    ArchWeek Image

    A serpentine stair connects the two levels of the Harrison Galleries.
    Photo: Jim Harrison


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