bDot is a design-conscious studio that focuses on the creative process, as well as crafting project solutions that are meaningful and encompass both a modern relevance and a timeless nature.
Commercial or residential?
The majority of our architectural work is commercial (corporate, medical, retail and renovations). We are pretty particular about our residential projects. We shy away from projects for people who already think they know what they want. We look for the open minded client, those willing to walk with us through the adventures of the design process without jumping to a predetermined look or style.
Pencil and paper or Autocad?
All of the above—including cardboard, wood, metal, etc. (They also keep a napkin dispenser on the conference table for sketches.) Often when we are designing, we start working faster than the computer will let us. It can become quite an event in the studio with each adding to the discussion, grabbing scraps from our shop, garbage cans, an old model, whatever, to get what is in our minds out on the table both literally and figuratively. We just have to put it all out there for discussion, and more often than not, get past our own preconceptions about a thing, or a design. Knowing when one medium is working and when it’s not is a skill that we have had to develop over time, for all forms of expression have conceptual loops and blind spots, and it’s important to realize when that is occurring. Once the majority of the design is flushed out, we use Autocad to put together the construction drawings or blueprints.
On downtown: We love to walk, explore, and photograph in downtown. The city’s alleys are a product of Birmingham’s past, an unofficial historical record book of sorts. One of our favorite alleys is between 1st and 2nd Ave North. We love the many fire escapes, skyways, and historic steel framed windows. They create an incredible layering of textures and colors worn by time.
If you were to design a folly, what would it be?
Having been given the wonderful opportunity to design buildings as well as furniture, lightings, sculptures, and art on multiple levels and sizes, I would love for us to be asked to design a sculpture or pavilion for the 2021 World Games.
Favorite lunch? On Fridays, one of our favorite lunches is Domino’s pizza at the studio followed by some foosball. We get the same toppings every time, pepperoni and olives on one and ham and mushrooms on the other.
Hobby? Most of us in the studio are musicians in some form or fashion, so we’ve been known to create music in our studio too. We have a few things you can listen to online if you are into electronic music.
Produced by Cathy Still McGowin • photography by Art Meripol