Athens’ Merchants Alley Wins American Institute of Architects North Alabama Chapter Honor Award

AMBL Studios is pleased to announce that Merchants Alley in historic downtown Athens, Alabama, received the AIA (American Institute of Architects) North Alabama Chapter Honor Award on Tuesday night (June 27, 2023) at the AIA NoAL Design Awards Ceremony. This is, “the jury’s highest level of commendation for exceptional design,” given out at the event.

To put this into perspective, our chapter consists of every region of Alabama along and north of the Tennessee River including Huntsville, Decatur, Florence, etc. There were 27 projects submitted that ranged from very small to very large and included projects like The Orion Amphitheater and Alabama A&M’s new Event Center. View all projects here:

An AIA sister chapter is selected for each award cycle to be the jury so that they are unbiased and objective. This year’s jury consisted of the board members from the AIA Corpus Christi chapter. Here were their comments regarding the Merchants Alley project:

  • Small Project, Big Impact
  • The project totally enlivened the space. It went from derelict and scary to lively, dynamic, and vibrant.
  • This was truly a public project for the community as opposed to a particular client or clientele
  • Amazing how paint, outdoor furnishings, planters, and light go a far way with some great imagination! Great job working with tight budget constraints!
  • We liked that not the entire surface became a mural. That the original brick and buildings still showed through.
  • We originally thought the “shed” buildings were removed, but were surprised to find that they remained (and painted), and yet the alley feels more open. Bravo!

“This is a huge accomplishment, and we at AMBL Studios were honored to have been a part of the project,” said Brad Mallette AIA, NCARB Founder & Architect at AMBL Studios.

“Brad Mallette, our Athens Main Street Design Committee Chair was a vital, key contributor to our project,” Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said. “He and the AMBL team helped create, clarify, and bring our vision to life.”