Downtown Cullman Design Guidelines
Cullman, Alabama (2011)

On April 27, 2011, Cullman was hit by a tornado that destroyed part of its historic downtown. With many property owners needing to quickly repair and rebuild, the City's lack of historic zoning and design guidelines amplified the downtown's vulnerabilities. Not wanting to hold up the recovery process, the City quickly hired The Walker Collaborative, which led an intensive three-day charrette to create design guidelines. Support was provided by Third Coast Design Studio and local architects. Preparing roughly 75% of the document and presenting it to the public by the end of the charrette, the guidelines were completed by the end of the same week.

Because of the availability of valuable historic information, such as historic photographs of the downtown and Sanborn insurance maps, the guidelines were based heavily upon historic precedents. For example, while the downtown currently lacks a single front balcony, the historic data revealed numerous balconies during the late- nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Consequently, the guidelines go into great detail on the design of balconies, which are encouraged as an amenity for upper floor housing. The City is currently utilizing the document as guidance for building repairs and new construction in their historic downtown.