June 22, 1966
Birmingham and Jefferson County officials hosted a press luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on this day to announce a design competition for a new “civic activities center” for Birmingham. The area, which would include sports and performing arts venues and exhibition space, would become the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (now the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex). Architects with at least four years’ professional registration were eligible. About 900 design firms requested specifications, and judges received 277 submissions. Entries were displayed at Boutwell Municipal Auditorium during the week of Nov. 11, 1966. Eight finalists were announced Nov. 14. Finalists had six months to produce additional drawings and a model of the project. Final judging began May 29, 1967. Mayor Albert Boutwell hosted a breakfast the next morning and announced that George Qualls of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the winner. In reviewing the architectural design of the new facility for Birmingham magazine, Philip Morris said, “The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center is a superb piece of architecture. … Buildings are sculptural and powerful, and the greatest bargain Birmingham ever got. The plaza between will be one of the notable plazas in the country.”
Read more at Bhamwiki.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.