MetHome spotlights Atlanta architects

If walls could talk, architects Brian Bell and David Yocum want their work to be part of the conversation.

The creative duo behind architectural firm BLDGS (pronounced buildings) aren't interested in making their design mark on Atlanta's commercial, institutional or residential landscape. Rather, they want to create spaces that spark a dialogue between the building and its surroundings, and maybe a little buzz among the neighbors, too.

Take, for instance, their Florian-Hart home in the Old Fourth Ward, a clean-lined residence nestled between bungalows. Or their Ansley Glass House in Ansley Park, in which the rear of a traditional-styled home was re-imagined with sleek glass walls nodding to Midtown's skyline.

Bell and Yocum, whose backgrounds are in institutional work, are featured in this month's Metropolitan Home as leaders in the next generation of contemporary designers. However, the men shy away from labeling their aesthetic. It's not modern, but "contemporary doesn't sit so easily, either," Bell says. "It becomes a meaningless term. We're interested in current conditions and what's new."

Or as Yocum puts it: "We're not interested in pushing our ideals on our clients. It's a discussion about mutually shared ideas and values that lead to appropriate outcomes, and if we are having a real conversation, we are going to go somewhere we didn't anticipate."

The men both attended Harvard's Graduate School of Design and later worked together at Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta. They create their clean-lined spaces from a sparse warehouse on Murphy Avenue in Atlanta with Bell's in-house cheerleader, a Boston terrier named Beatrice.