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The Battery

The Battery

By Jessica Armstrong

December 17, 2017

The former BEBCO (Birmingham Electric Battery Company) building on Second Avenue and 22nd Street South is being redeveloped into a mixed-use office and retail space called The Battery.

Approximately 250 square feet of the project will be new construction with the remaining 19,210 square feet a renovation of existing buildings.

Demolition began early December and The Battery is expected to be completed in April 2018. Architects on the project are Scott Burnett, VP, and Michael Foster, both of CCR Architecture and Interiors.

“These buildings were formerly used for automotive repair and servicing,” says Foster. “They were built to be unassuming, durable, and functional, and you can tell when you look at them. There are no awnings or human-scaled elements – in many ways, these buildings were made with cars in mind more than people. The new design seeks to keep the gritty historic character of the existing structures while creating a fun, attractive place for people to gather.”

And the building will employ the same no-nonsense approach to materiality. New exterior walls are clad in corrugated metal in white, grey, and charcoal. Existing metal sign elements are salvaged for use as screening for rooftop mechanical equipment.

Heavy timber trusses previously hidden within one of the auto mechanic service areas will be exposed as part of the roof structure over the enclosed outdoor courtyard. Original masonry openings bricked shut over the years will be restored, flooding the interiors with natural daylight and enlivening the street by replacing blank stucco walls with glass.

Green elements will be introduced breaking up the currently paved lot. A bamboo hedge will separate the development from the adjacent warehouse and planting strips and low trees will create comfortable outdoor rooms for people to gather. With the diversity of tenants on site, these outdoor spaces will be useful at all hours – day times for office lunches and trips to the gym, nights and weekends for drinking, dining, and shows.

The new design is every bit as pragmatic and unassuming as the current site: basic rectangular volumes simply constructed using affordable, durable materials. Basic improvements will be made to modernize the buildings, including new windows, new plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems and new interior finishes.

“All the old buildings on site already have good bones, high ceilings, and abundant natural light,” Burnett explains. “Many of the tenants were intentionally seeking out unfinished space that they could move into and make their own. With the added benefit of historic character and a prime downtown location, the site didn’t require much intervention to be perfect for the right tenants.”

The new complex will house The Birmingham District Brewing Company, a micro-brewery, The Syndicate Lounge, a music venue, along with a fitness studio and several restaurants including Gus’s Fried Chicken, Alabama’s first location of Memphis-based fried chicken chain.

Image 1-The former Birmingham Electric Battery Company building on Second Avenue and 22nd Street South is being redeveloped into a mixed-use office and retail space called The Battery. Roughly 250 square feet of the project will be new construction, with the remaining 19,210 square feet a renovation of existing buildings.

Image 2- The new design is as pragmatic and unassuming as the current site with basic rectangular volumes simply constructed using affordable, durable materials. Improvements to modernize the buildings include new windows, new plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems and new interior finishes.

Image 3- Green elements will be introduced to break up the currently paved lot. A bamboo hedge will separate the development from the adjacent warehouse and planting strips and low trees will create comfortable outdoor rooms for people to gather.

Image 4- All the old buildings on site already have good bones, high ceilings, and abundant natural light, says Scott Burnett, who is project architect along with Michael Foster. These buildings were formerly used for automotive repair and servicing.


This article originally appeared on Design Alabama