the interest of economy and simplicity, sites outside the central business district were considered, but, as Mayor Driver stated, he “had to do something to hold downtown together”.
The only logical approach was to demolish the 1935 building, construct a new facility in its place, and renovate the existing 1975 structure to fit better with the rest of the building. The City could also use this
opportunity to assemble the remainder of the block for a more comprehensive approach to planning, at the town level as well as within the building. In addition, when the county vacated the old jail on the site immediately to the south, the City was given the opportunity to address a serious parking problem in the central business district by constructing a new parking lot in its place. This approach not only enabled the City to remain in the central business district, but it strengthened the development in the immediate area by
enlarging the city/county government district, and will serve as a stronger unifying thread in the overall urban fabric.
The architect used materials, colors, scale, proportion, and rhythm to link the memory of the 1935 building (and the history associated with it) to the existing building and the new construction. While the entire Art Deco facade could not be saved, elements were salvaged and integrated into the new facade, especially around the main entrance. The new facility addresses the street and sidewalk in much the same way buildings did in an earlier era. The scale is very human and sympathetic to the pedestrian. The automobile is addressed (on-street parking, a below-grade parking level for city officials, a drive-through teller), but it remains subordinate to the walking experience.
Agriculture was also an essential consideration in developing the character of the new building as this is a fundamental part of the character of the community. The building reflects the transition the community is experiencing economically and socially: from the strictly rural, agrarian community that it was in the 1930's to one with a far more diverse economic base today, to a community that will be increasingly industrial as we move into the twenty-first century. As a whole, the character is appropriately contemporary, but details
still connect us with our past.
The new facility houses the mayor’s and council members’ offices; city clerk’s office; utilities’ offices; the building official; economic development activities; and some general office space for lease. The focus of
the facility is a 200-seat auditorium. This serves primarily for city council meetings, but will also be used for various other community meetings, presentations, speeches, lectures, seminars, workshops, etc. For the first time, Clanton City Hall will serve as a true community center. Four other conference rooms of varying sizes accommodate other meeting types.
The building has two major entrances: the main entrance that connects the new construction to the 1975 structure fronting on Second Avenue, and a secondary entrance on Sixth Street serving utilities customers. The main entrance is a unifying element as well as an orienting element, showing the visitor the way to the mayor’s office, the economic development office, their councilperson’s office, or the auditorium. On a larger scale — that of the street — it unifies and gives orientation to the public space that is created between the new City Hall and the existing courthouse across Second Avenue. Part of the new building is set back from Second Avenue, creating a small park with landscaping and seating. For special occasions, this section of Second Avenue can be closed to provide an excellent small-town venue for festivals, concerts, speeches, and the Christmas Tree.
To complete the project, the block of Second Avenue between City Hall and the Chilton County Courthouse received new streetscaping. Also, a park with a fountain, stage, and seating was added diagonally across the intersection from City Hall, providing greater unity at the intersection, and creating a place in which all citizens of Clanton and Chilton County can take great pride.
Project Cost: $4,500,000 (does not include park)
50,000 Square feet on four levels includes 15 parking spaces at the lower level and a mechanical mezzanine
Structure: Driven piles with concrete and structural steel frame
Roofing: Standing seam metal over structural deck
Veneer: Split face cmu, brick, and EIFS
Monumental Stair: Marble, granite, stainless steel, and glass
Aluminum Curtainwall System
Paneling & Architectural Woodwork: Birch with stainless steel trim