The U.S. Space & Rocket Center congratulates the architectural firm of Gresham, Smith & Partners for their design of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, recipient of the 2010 AIA Birmingham People's Choice Award. The Davidson Center was one of 30 finalists for the award, sanctioned by the American Institute of Architects, yet received almost 70% of the 2,778 votes cast.
Opened in January, 2008, the 68,000 square foot Davidson Center was designed to showcase Alabama's continuing role in America's manned space flight program, as well as house the very first Saturn V rocket vehicle, the prototype of the rocket that would eventually make it possible to land humans on the moon. The Saturn V was designed and built in Huntsville.
The Davidson Center opened on the 50th anniversary of America's initial foray into space as a national showcase for the manned space flight program, but has quickly become one of the most unique venues in the nation for special events as well as public and private gatherings. It has been the scene of weddings, corporate dinners, even a recent gathering of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
"Designing a building to house the Saturn V wasn't the challenge on this project," according to Larry Capps, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. He added, "The challenge was coming up with a design that would do justice to the ingenuity behind the rocket. What Gresham, Smith and Partners designed for us is something all of Huntsville can take pride in."
The Davidson Center also includes a 350-seat digital 3D theater, gift shop, and commercial kitchen to accommodate groups of up to 1,500.
Voting this year was managed on the website of Birmingham television station Fox 6 News, which displayed photos of all 30 finalists for the award. For more information