I’m Jeremy Erdreich, an architect and real estate developer based in New York, NY and Birmingham, AL. My own architecture firm, Erdreich Architecture, was founded in 1998 and pursues projects in various locales; Metropolitan, the development firm operated with my sister Anna and my father, Ben, pursues projects in and around Birmingham.
I grew up in Birmingham until age 14, when my family moved to Washington DC. I studied architecture at Yale, Harvard, and University of Cambridge (UK), then worked in NYC for a couple years. I lived in a Williamsburg loft–just when the neighborhood was transitioning from artsy to hipster–and the redevelopment patterns there inspired me to move back to Birmingham. Among other things, I’ve tried since I moved back to make downtown and the surrounding area a better place to live and visit.
In Birmingham, I live and work downtown with a 5-minute walking commute. Many days I do not get into a car, a relative rarity in a place like Birmingham. Needless to say, my 100% car-less situation in New York is a big plus.
My apartment in New York is on West 54th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, and I work most days there on Varick Street in Soho. I enjoy promoting the two cities I love most in the world: one deep in the heart of Dixie, the other on that magical isle of Manhattan.
You can check out my design website www.erdreicharchitecture.com
My mailing addresses are:
205 N 20th St Suite 314, Birmingham AL 35203
550 W 54th St #1104, New York NY 10019
How modern yet quaint… living where you work (or is it really vice versa?)
It’s so inspiring.
Hopefully one day you’ll be the norm, not the oddity.
Thought you might be intrigued with this, and be inspired to develop something similar here (like a new Birmingham Board of Education HQ):
Todd–Thanks. Excellent piece from the latimes–and a pretty impressive project, given all the grim, “security uber alles” design work we’ve seen lately with American embassy projects.
Would like to meet withy you on some projects for the loft district that would be of great interest to you and of service to the community ,as well as boosting employment and loft resources .
I was 15 when I left Birmingham in 1965 , and have only recently returned to the area .I have noticed many wonderful changes there.Beautiful, historic theatre’s being turned into parking lots isn’t one of them, from my perspective. I currently reside in Locust Fork(Blount County),and get most of my news from WBHM, where I heard about the Lyric’s plight just last week.I suspect there are other projects equally worthy. My research via the net has brought me to your blog, which I find encouraging. About me: 25 yrs. in the building trades as residential, commercial electrician, w/some industrial 3 phase as well, and have recently added small scale solar and wind generation to this list. For the last 12 years I have worked closely with renovation contractors in Pa. restoring distressed buildings.I have experience in mold remediation,drywall,painting,rough and finish carpentry,vinyl and ceramic tile,and some plumbing as well. I follow the indie film and music scene closely(The Lyric’s future?),bicycle instead of drive when possible,recycle everything I can. You seem keenly aware and plugged in to the “new Birmingham”, and can likely give me some insight and direction as to where I might fit in to help make it the place it deserves as a positive role model. Thank you for your time. Any ideas will be appreciated. Sincerely, Robert Norrell
Hi Robert–you are right, a lot of positive change has occurred here since 1965. And while we have generally been lucky with most of our historic building stock getting renovated–or at least left intact for the future–the theatre district was hit especially hard downtown in the 1980s. Many people are totally unaware that the Lyric was spared, and is a great candidate for renovation. The construction industry is pretty quiet right now—we have only a small fraction of our normal workload from several years ago. But I expect things to pick back up this year. Stay in touch and I’ll try to keep you and everyone else informed of any opportunities I see out there in terms of helping build a better Birmingham! Thanks.
Just a quick question, I have looked at the Bham Wiki page for the Design Review, and searched the City website… but no answers… who currently sits on the Design Review committee, and do you know whose 2 years terms are up and when?
Ben–if you check the Bhamwiki page for Design Review, they list current members toward the bottom of the page. There have been a couple added recently which I believe are not reflected on the list, but it seems to cover most of them. Kathy Puckett at the Planning Department (254-2558) is the city staff person who helps coordinate the committee and she would have info on the exact names and expiration of terms. Although Bhamwiki states the terms are 2 years, most people seem to get renewed pretty automatically, serving for multiple terms.
Thanks for the heads up. I will drop Kathy a note to check. I didn’t trust the Bham Wiki only because it said it was last updated in 2007 wasn’t sure if those names were still correct. Thank you
Thank you so much for your blog, Jeremy! This is great! I will link to it on The Red Mountain Post.
Do you have any information about the status of the Webb Building facade? It is on such a visibly prominent corner. I was hoping that project would be completed quickly.
Yes. From what I understand the owner is taking bids and getting ready to proceed. Not sure of the exact timeline. In this business, “quickly” can be very relative. But I share your desire to see it fixed up according to Pete Pritchard’s great design. Thanks!
I just came across your blog through another site. While I live about an hour away from Birmingham, I’ve always been fascinated by its potential and the diversity of architecture. I hope to move to the city at some point. Your blog is going to become one of my top reads.
Thanks for your interest, and we hope to see you in Birmingham sometime soon!
Guess I just didn’t read “about Bhamarchitect. It’s right there in black and white…Jeremy Erdrich!
I’ve just enjoyed reading the meat of the blog and never clicked on the About button! Duh.
I was wondering if you have noticed the random way they are paving the sidewalks all over downtown. The new paving does not match the pattern of the existing sidewalks and they have paved over many of the openings intended for the planting of trees (most recently in front of the old BCBS Building on 3rd Av N between 22nd and 23rd streets). Also, in front of the Church on 3rd Av N between 21st and 22nd streets the openings for the trees are different random sizes. I am glad they are working on the sidewalks around Downtown but couldn’t it be done in a more uniform way? I have called Don Lupo twice about this over the past few weeks but have gotten no response. I have also tried getting info from the workers with no success.
Yes. This random, unannounced sidewalk paving (or patching) came out of nowhere–and when we all realized what was happening, our windows were splattered with concrete, employee cars covered with concrete dust, and an awning on our building damaged by a back-hoe! Quite a weird, disorganized way to fix city sidewalks. I will try to get more information about this, especially the planter spots covered over. Not good.
My understanding of the sidewalk repair was that it was tied to the ADA lawsuit and monies that had been previously set aside to rectify issues brought under that lawsuit, why they began where they did and the way they are moving through the city is anyones guess.
Ben, thanks. That at least gives some rationale to the “patchwork” system, if they are not doing general sidewalk replacement, but merely addressing isolated areas that fall under the ADA issues.
I am an Interior Architecture and Design student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. For one of my classes, I need to interview an architect and was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions soon. If you are willing to, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been following you blog for a while now and I really enjoy it. I love learning about Birmingham architecture, I’ve lived here since I was 10 and am just now seeing the beauty of this city.
Check out the pic at this URL: http://main.uab.edu/Sites/MediaRelations/photos/81926.jpg
Do you notice something unusual about the brick walls next to the sidewalk? Are they even real bricks?
Great blog…keep up the good work.
That’s simply not possible—-right? I hope?!? What has this house been renovated for? I’m not aware of the project. Thanks for reading.
Here’s the story on the house…
I have hotlinked your photo of the Daniel-Hassinger mansion on my blog, ILoveBham.com at http://www.ilovebham.com/2010/12/historic-highland.html giving you the photo credit and also a link back to your blog’s story about the house. If you have any objection to this whatsoever, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I’ll remove it.
As always, I enjoy reading your blog.
Johnny–thanks for reading. Please note that photo is not mine; the credit is at the end of the post. Thanks!
As a fellow former Brooklynite in Birmingham, what’s the one thing you recommend I should see, do or eat?
Kate–when will you be here, weekend or weekday? And have you been before?
I live out Hwy. 280. My husband and I moved our two kids here in July. Even though we’ve been here several months, I’m still always interested to hear of places that I might not know about.
P.S. You should check out my blog – “The Brooklyn Dodger” – about the move and ensuing culture shock.
Ah, right. Cool blog. I’m not sure if I know any real secrets here you wouldn’t already know about–Friday night dinner at Trattoria Centrale is my favorite thing here and it’s hardly a secret…I’ll think about it though.
Jeremy C. Erdreich, AIA, LEED AP Erdreich Architecture, PC 2332 Second Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203 tel 205.322.1914 fax 205.322.1925 http://www.erdreicharchitecture.com
Jeremy, just found your blog and it is great! Do you have any thoughts on how to improve the perception and connection 1st north downtown to woodlawn? We are having great interest in Woodlawn http://www.woodrowhall.com but still many people are concerned about safety. My thought other than the immediate store fronts is the connection to crestwood then to down town (burgler bars, chainlink razor wire, hodge podge setbacks, etc). Andrew Morrow
Andrew, thanks! Yes, interesting question and I will try to address it in an upcoming post.
You might be interested in a a few new exhibits that were installed at Vulcan Park & Museum. We have built a stylized recreation of the Birmingham Terminal Station, “Birmingham, the Magic City” sign. I would be happy to send you photographs.
Can you please send pics to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Found your blog from Facebook…..very cool and interesting. I work for Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman. We want to help salvage pieces from the structures that are being torn down and renovated all around the south. If you ever have any inside information for us, we would appreciate the heads up. We want to keep these historical pieces from being destroyed, so they may be used again. Check out our website http://sa1969.com and you can find us on facebook!
Lucy–thanks for reading, and you can pretty much count on any inside info coming to this blog first, so stay tuned. We try to make a point of attending every Design Review Committee, which approves (or denies!) renovations or demolitions in historic districts throughout the City–that way we can stay on top of historic structures that may be in peril. Thanks again!
Odd question, but who do I need to contact in order to have a message run across the Marquee at Two North Twentieth (I know it as the bank for savings building). I figured you might have more insight into it than the commoner such as myself. Thanks for the information and great blog!
Chris, thanks for reading. Actually if you read the marquee long enough, there’s a “leasing” telephone number that flashes every minute or so. While I believe that’s for info about leasing space inside, I’m sure they could help, or direct you to the right source. You could also try googling two north twentieth for that same number. Good luck!
What are your thoughts on the city tearing down the existing city bus terminal and erecting a new one? It’s only about 11 years old, and I’d like to see it stay and modified to expand. What’s the word on the street about the proposed demolition and rebuild?
Hey Chris, it’s not an easy answer. WIthout studying the issues in depth, it’s hard to judge. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, the new facility will be solidly urban and welcoming (and design-wise, in a different league), favorably comparing to the weak, existing facility. To me it’s a new plus. although tearing down something this new should always give one pause. I will try to find out more regarding this decision and report back if I do. Thanks for reading.
Sure–and thanks for reading!
I really enjoy your blog! I recently came across this book and thought it might interest you: Urban Code: 100 Lessons for Understanding the City by Anne Mikoleit and Mortiz Purckhauer. It’s a collection of observations of one NYC neighborhood (SoHo). Each observation is written in a simple and beautiful way that makes each conclusion (lesson) applicable to any urban environment. Lesson 01, for example, is “People walk in the sunshine.” Lesson 06 is “Rents rise with increasing pedestrian density.” It’s a charming little book.
It will soon be available through the JCLC system! If you’re interested, you can place a hold on it here: http://vulcan.bham.lib.al.us/record=b2668065~S1
Thank you for reading, and I will definitely check out this book. It sounds fantastic.
Any idea what they are doing on 1st Ave S, due south of Sloss? They are ripping up the rail and crossties. I have heard that will ultimately be a green space connecting the park and Sloss. Is that what this activity is?
I’m not sure, and need to take a look. I know some property along 1st in that area has been acquired and maybe is being cleaned up in preparation for something in the future. There is a planned greenway connecting Sloss and RR Park, but no funding is in place for that yet.
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Jeremy, you recently posted about the space across from Quinlin Castle (the apartments that were leveled near Bryant Park). How does this play into the future of Quinlin Castle? I was under the impression one of the concerns about creating living space there was always parking. Who is in control of that building now?
SRI (Southern Research Institute) owns the building now. Of any property owner, they are best positioned to overcome parking challenges due to all the surrounding real estate they own, much of it under-developed surface parking that could be converted to decks, for instance. I’ve not heard more about this specific parcel where the historic apartments stood. Thanks.
Have you heard about the building at 2118 7th Ave. S being torn down to build a Milo’s? It is very disappointing to me that an urban, in use building with multiple stores that have been occupied is going to be torn down to build a suburban drive through. What makes it really sad is there is already a Milo’s in what I think is a better location, but they want to move because it doesn’t have a drive through. It’s amazing to me that with all the parking lots and empty space in this area they are going to tear down a occupied building.
I was not aware–although I did just hear that the former Social Grill restaurant at the corner of 23rd St. North and 3rd Avenue is slated to be demolished for a Cadence Bank drive-through/parking lot. Neither that, nor the Milo’s, are appropriate whatsoever in those locations, but as long as our zoning code continues to be outdated with no provisions to limit this type development, it will be an uphill battle to prevent. Thanks.
Just wanted to say that your efforts on this blog have helped sell my wife and I on Birmingham. We presently reside in New Orleans and have found ourselves in Birmingham numerous times over the past 18 months; one occurrence being a 10 day ‘hurri-cation’ during Isaac. We have always had a casual fondness for Birmingham, but recent months have seen it grow into something that more closely resembles twitterpation. We miss this city of yours despite having never resided there.
That said, recent circumstances have primed us to consider a change of scenery. Though we haven’t formally declared it, Birmingham has decidedly become our destination of choice, hopefully as early as July or August. Jobs are being applied for, rentals are being researched, etc. It’s exciting.
While we have experienced a fair amount of the amenities and attractions Birmingham has to offer, we remain rather ignorant to the city with regards to its residential aspects. We’re in our mid 30’s, professional, renters, no kids, no pets (yuppies, in other words) that enjoy locations of character. We presently live in a VERY transitional neighborhood of New Orleans, and while we would like to potentially ‘upgrade’ a little, we are very open to neighborhoods that might be a little rough around the edges but otherwise have an abundance of offerings, are reasonably safe, and aren’t overpriced. I’ve done my due diligence online, but have found many conflicting views — some of which appear to be dubious at best. Suffice it to say that after now reading the entirety of your blog, I inherently trust your judgement. Given our proclivities, perhaps you could suggest a few areas to concentrate our focus or point me in the direction of a reputable resource? I realize you’re not a real estate agent, but your intimacy with the city, its neighborhoods, and its workings make you uniquely qualified to serve as an ambassador of sorts. Any ideas or advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.
Keep up your magnificent work.
Thank you for reading the blog, and for your kind comments. As it turns out, I’ve been working up in New York for the last few months and therefore the blog–which depends on physical access to Birmingham–has been mainly dormant. Regardless I continue to follow development news in my hometown best I can. I’m happy you are considering moving.
You’ve been to Birmingham so you already know it’s a different place from New Orleans (what place isn’t?). In terms of locations of character for people such as yourselves–I would recommend Avondale, Norwood, Woodlawn, Eastlake as neighborhoods that feel transitional (with Avondale being the trendiest, Woodlawn and Eastlake being the most pioneering, and Norwood in-between). My guess is Avondale comes closest to what you’re looking for–as it already has some “yuppie” amenities but still isn’t overpriced, and really feels like it’s undergoing a renaissance. The other places have some beautiful streets with old, very cheap houses–but lack the hip pubs or neighborhood market that Avondale has. Not to mention that Avondale borders Forest Park–an expensive neighborhood with more amenities and beautiful architecture.
There are good deals to be had downtown, as the city slowly recovers from the long real estate slump–but there’s nothing really edgy or pioneering about downtown anymore. It does have nice amenities and lots of historic character, if you’re looking for an apartment rather than a house.
I’d say a great resource would be Elisa Macon, an agent with Walton Brown: http://www.elisamacon.com She really knows the in-town communities. I hope that helps, and I’m happy to try to give you more opinions as you get further into your search. Thanks again.
I wanted to chat with you about your blog; have you considered turning it into a book about Birmingham architecture? I’ve really enjoyed reading it. Please reach out!
Thank you so much for reading. Considering the blog is more about public urban issues, and less about architecture in a way, it doesn’t easily lend itself to general interest book-making. I’m also working up in New York now, making it difficult to spend time on it at the moment. But I’ll keep your publishing house in mind–I’m certainly familiar with your titles. Cheers!
Thanks, friend! I read you were in New York, but wasn’t sure if you got down to Birmingham much. I’m so glad you enjoy our books! Please keep us in mind if you have ideas, and let us know if you have a friend who has an architecture book in mind for Alabama! I would love to hear from him or her.
Jeremy, is there anything we can do to stop this monstrosity? Who do we talk to at the DRC?
Hi Wes. Sorry I’m up in New York now and can’t offer better advice. I agree that this project is not only poor design from an urban perspective, but an inappropriate use of prime land so close to RR Park. However, rather than blame Alagasco, or the architects, I blame the community for not insisting that the RR Park area have a smart code overlay that would prevent any suburban-style development like this from being possible in the first place.
I would suggest speaking with Cheryl Morgan on the DRC, or Kathy Puckett on the City Planning staff. Good luck.
Hello – I’m extremely interested in the copper hood that appeared in a picture of a kitchen on your architecture company’s website. I believe it was the Halverston home. Would you be so kind to let me know who made the hood?
I’m in the process of restoring a registered home (a southern Victorian) and I’d love to see if you can help out. Please email me when you get an opportunity.
Hi there, Charles. That hood was a custom copper hood, and while we provided the details, the client’s interior designer actually handled its construction–so I don’t know who made it.
I’m sorry to not be of more help, but I wish you good luck in your restoration.
Can you tell me about the finish on the hood? I really like the color and the vintage look. Would appreciate it if you can help me describe the color and finish. Thank you in advance.
Great blog. I have a quick question concerning some pictures you’ve used in two of your articles (“Modernist Redux” 06/08/11 and “A Clue” 06/28/12). Could you PM me on facebook if you have a free moment to discuss. Thank you!