The Compass Bank located at Toomer’s Corner is being redesigned by Auburn professor and architect Stacy Norman, who is using the redevelopment as a project for Auburn architecture students in his studio class this fall.
Norman, who is president of Stacy Norman Architects, said the owners of the property approached his company about two years ago with the intention of demolishing the current Compass Bank and replacing it with a new three-story structure, with approximately 6,000 square feet per floor.
“If they were to build back a new building, it’d make more sense to add at least one additional floor, if not two,” Norman said. “So it made more sense from a budgeting standpoint to put Compass Bank back in the first two floors and then put a third-floor tenant in.”
According to Norman’s design, the third floor would be made into three two bedroom apartments with balconies overhanging the street.
Norman said his company is about two weeks away from submitting a permit to the City of Auburn, and the plans have already been approved by Auburn’s Planning Commission.
Norman said he expects that Compass Bank will move out of the building at the start of November with the demolition of the structure to take place this December, and he said he hopes construction of the new building will be complete by November 2018.
Third-year Auburn University architecture students of Norman and Auburn professor Behzad Nakhjavan are assigned to come up with a design for the new Compass Bank as part of their semester-long project this fall.
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“We were looking for a project that the third-year students could do,” Norman said. “We wanted it to be somewhat urban, we wanted it to be at least a multi-story building and we wanted it to have multiple tenants.”
Norman said his students have been given the same project restrictions that his company had while designing the new Compass Bank, including adherence to safety codes, height limit and they must meet the requirements of a college edge overlay project.
Stone Ray, junior in architecture, is one of 26 students who have been assigned this project and said that the building’s location and importance has its own set of challenges.
“The biggest challenge would be how to create a structure that is worthy of, probably, the most important site to be redeveloped in town,” Ray said. “Auburn is a city that means a lot to me, obviously, and Auburn’s the place that I want to work at when I’m older so I’m really excited about it for that sake of my portfolio.”
Ray says the project will take the entire semester to complete, with students having to meet deadlines in the coming months when it comes to making models, pitching ideas and potentially changing their designs.
Norman said students have asked him if there was a possibility of implementing elements of their designs into the actual Compass Bank redevelopment but said that it was unlikely.
“At this point and the way that this project will go, it would probably be something difficult to change,” Norman said. “It’s gone through planning, the elevations have already been released to the papers and things like that, so the sort of look and feel of the building is done.”
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