Union on Frank

Tuscaloosa, AL

Union on Frank is an off-campus student-housing project located near the University of Alabama between Frank Thomas Avenue and Red Drew Avenue on 6th Street in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  When planning the project, it was clear a connection to the campus would be key for students to engage in their local community.  The project has views of Bryant-Denny Stadium, making it ideal for game-day celebrations and it is within walking distance of The Strip for local restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.  The 1.85-acre site includes a total of 238 units with 396 beds and a four-story parking garage.  

A shared access right-of-way bifurcates the site, separating the project into two buildings connected by a sky-bridge for internal circulation. The primary building along Frank Thomas includes the main entrance tower, four-story parking garage, which is partially subterranean, with five-stories of residential building above. The grand entrance welcomes students upon arrival to the central lobby which features a monumental staircase connecting to the amenity level above. Large glass storefronts flood the lounge areas with natural light. The first floor is outfitted with a coffee bar, banquette seating and breakout conference rooms all of which serve as both a social space for students and leasing office for the management team. The second building on Red Drew includes four-stories of residential living, additional study lounges for the students, and a roof deck overlooking the city’s skyline.   

The design palette of Union on Frank was established early in the project’s conception based on the historic beauty of the university’s campus.  Featuring elaborate brick facades, traditional limestone, arched storefronts and windows, decorative cornices and architectural brackets, the exterior of the building ties in seamlessly to the visual landscape of Tuscaloosa. Metal canopies are integrated into the large expanses of storefront to add interest at the pedestrian scale and reduce solar heat gain in the amenity spaces. The projects adjacency to the campus allows for easy walkability and biking to campus for students.  Bike racks are provided in the living space of each unit as well as ample bicycle and scooter parking throughout the parking garage.  

Individual student rooms contain easily moveable furniture for sleeping and studying as well as their own ensuite bathrooms. The common living spaces of the units feature shaker cabinetry with quartz countertop and tile backsplash in the kitchen, wood look luxury vinyl tile, and stainless-steel appliances. Large operable windows throughout the apartments allow for ample daylight and views of the surrounding city.  

The parking garage within the primary building functions as a podium, creating two unique raised courtyards, which are programmatically diverse.  The active courtyard is programming is driven by its adjacency to the fitness center and primary social lounge. This courtyard features a swimming pool, spa, game-day cabanas, fountain, and spaces for gathering outdoors. Alternately, the passive courtyard allows spaces for relaxation in hammocks, turf lawns for mediation, and sofas for lounging. The exterior breezeways along the courtyards allow for connectivity and views from within the building. The primary social lounge features a double height clubroom with kitchenette, banquette seating, air hockey table, dual sided fireplaces, and large storefront glazing which provides daylighting and connectivity to the active courtyard. A mezzanine within the social lounge serves as a secluded retreat for students. In addition to the main leasing space on the ground level, a variety of amenities are spread throughout the five-story apartment building, including unique amenities such as various study lounges, a podcasting room, twitch rooms, and maker's spaces for the residents to engage in their favorite pastimes or discover new ones without leaving the comfort of their home. 

Version History
  • Project uploaded by Jennifer Szabo on 06-21-2023
  • Project last updated by WoodWorks on 10-03-2023
Project Details
  • Year Built


  • Number Of Stories


  • Bldg system

    Innovative Light-Frame

  • Sq. Meters


  • Construction Type:


  • Building Type:

    Student Housing

  • Material Types:

    Hybrid (wood with steel or concrete)
    Wood structural panels
    Fasteners / Hardware

Project Team
Version History
  • Project uploaded by Jennifer Szabo on 06-21-2023
  • Project last updated by WoodWorks on 10-03-2023
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