KENNETH OWENS, JR.
The Owens and Woods Partnership
African American AIA Fellow
SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC Exhibitor
Alabama Based Designer
His leadership and work with his firm, The Owens and Woods Partnership, led to its present location in downtown Birmingham at the historical Fire Station #4. It was considered a benchmark in the development of black-owned businesses in Birmingham.
KENNETH OWENS, JR.
Kenneth Odom Owens Jr. was an architect, businessman and entrepreneur who launched the first African American architectural firm in Birmingham, Ala., with his partner Franklin Woods in 1974 at a time when black-owned professional firms were in short supply. His leadership and work with his firm, The Owens and Woods Partnership, led to its present location in downtown Birmingham at the historical Fire Station #4. It was considered a benchmark in the development of black-owned businesses in Birmingham. Some of his most notable projects at the local and state levels include the expansion of Birmingham city hall, the Metropolitan Garden Public Housing (Central City), Citizens Federal Bank, Protective Insurance Buildings, First Baptist Fairfield, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church Family Life Center, Freedom Manor, Birmingham Parking Deck #9 and other projects throughout the Southeast. Born May 23, 1939, in Hamilton County, Chattanooga, Tenn., Owens was the eldest of three siblings. He was proud of his upbringing in “Bushtown,” a neighborhood in Chattanooga. As a boy, he attended the Orchard Knob Elementary School and later Howard High School where he demonstrated a prodigious talent for mathematics and art which led him to the field of architecture. He graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in architectural engineering. Upon graduation, he was the first African American in the Southeast employed by the United States Corps of Engineers in 1963.
Object Five - Alternative career, volunteer work with organizations not directly connected with the built environment, or service to society
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Metropolitan Gardens Public Housing Project
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In 1980, The Owens and Woods Partnership was commissioned by the local housing authority to rescue the nine-city block development known as Central City Housing Project. Widely criticized as a slum, the dramatic transformation of the property earned design awards from the American Institute of Architects and the state planning association.