Jeff Dungan started Dungan Nequette Architects with Louis Nequette more than 20 years ago. Together, they have designed homes and commercial buildings from Birmingham to Alys Beach to Nova Scotia. Today, Jeff focuses on the residential side of things while Louis turns his attention to commercial design. They still share an office (and desk), and together have dreamed up buildings that have shaped our landscape for good.
My work is primarily on houses. However, I occasionally have the opportunity to design a church or bar or restaurant (most recently Galley and Garden in Southside). It is very exciting to create a place that can effect the lives of hundreds perhaps thousands of people over time.
We try to do something unique in each design and I find that each project has some attribute I am very drawn to. Projects are kind of like your children—you love them all. If I had to choose, I would say a house at Alys Beach. It was very pure and simple.
If you were to design a folly, what would it be?
A floppy hat kind of screen porch thing that spills out of a hillside and looks out onto the ocean and has a fireplace so you can cook and sleep there on occasion.
Paper and pencil? I use vellum for drafting and scrap copier paper for sketching. I can’t stand totally white paper for sketching but won’t draw on lined paper either…
Civic responsibilities? It is the architect’s job to protect the users of the building—and create places that are a gift to the street.
What’s happening in Birmingham?
This city is better than it has ever been. I think it will soon become one of the greatest Southern cities. There’s a wonderful culture of people, music, food, art and architecture, gorgeous topography, and natural beauty.
Favorite lunch? Chez Fon Fon. I usually order the charcuterie and the fish of the day.
Favorite vacation? What was the highlight of the trip? Buenos Aires, Argentina. The food and the people are so inspiring. I loved seeing the cemetery where Eva Parone (among others) are buried. It’s an amazing city for the dead with each tomb an architectural marvel.
Hobby? I like to play chess. I try to play once a day online against people from all over the world. It’s a good way to wind down at the end of the day.
What inspires you? Nature… people… art… food… music… words… travel…
Dungan-Nequette Architects, Jeff Dungan
Address: 1906 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35223
Produced by Cathy Still McGowin • photography by Art Meripol