By Melody Harclerode
Entering the front door of the plain industrial building with an enormous, rusted canopy, visitors are charmed by the discovery of a captivating courtyard decked with plants and modern outdoor furniture. The coolness of the concrete block walls is warmed with the color and texture of the accent metal panels on wall openings and with the structural beams. A massive, glass window wall at the rear of the courtyard provides a tantalizing view into the sunlit office space beyond.
This unexpected, yet assured use of space, scale, light, and materials with this project characterizes the style of architects Brian Bell AIA and David Yocum AIA, the principals of BLDGS. The graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Design established their architectural firm in West End at this former automotive parts building in 2006.
Villa de Murph, as the project is fondly called, received acclaim in the architectural community, and generated referrals for Bell and Yocum to design new cutting-edge projects. The striking Burned House in the Old Fourth Ward features exterior cladding with a range of black hues as a reference to the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917. Whitespace Gallery in Inman Park showcases the dialogue between contemporary artwork and the beautifully raw historic setting from 1893.
Recognizing their provocative designs, the Atlanta Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Atlanta) awarded BLDGS with the 2006 Emerging Voices Award and with the 2016 AIA Atlanta Silver Medal Firm Award.
BLDGS has garnered national attention recently as only one of eight firms across North America to receive the prestigious Architectural League of New York, 2017 Emerging Voices Award. Since 1982, this award has celebrated the North American individuals and firms with the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.
Bell describes the Architectural League of New York, 2017 Emerging Voices Award as “a significant honor, indicating our work’s relevance in and beyond Atlanta.” This month, Bell and Yocum will receive the award in front of their national peers during a lecture at the School of the Visual Arts in Manhattan.
With their eyes on current projects, such as the Georgia Tech Van Leer Interdisciplinary Design Common, and their sights set on the upcoming trip to New York City, Bell and Yocum are encouraged by the growing number of clients who have an appreciation for inventive and enduring architecture.
Yocum looks forward to “working on projects that will help transform and meaningfully contribute to our changing city.”
For a firm with a passion for the unexpected, their champions expect a bright future for BLDGS.
Melody L. Harclerode, AIA, promotes significant historical, cultural, and natural sites as an organizational leader, architect and writer.