flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Gresham Smith Founder, Batey M. Gresham Jr., passes at Age 88

Gresham Smith Founder, Batey M. Gresham Jr., passes at Age 88

Batey Gresham Left Indelible Mark on Architectural Profession and Firm’s Culture.

By Gresham Smith | August 10, 2022
Batey M. Gresham Jr.
Courtesy Gresham Smith

It is with deep sadness that Gresham Smith announces the passing of Batey M. Gresham Jr., AIA—one of the firm’s founders. He was 88 years old.

“Our hearts are heavy today,” said Gresham Smith CEO Rodney Chester. “Our firm, our profession and our communities have lost a leader who inspired and impacted so many. His long-term influence is nearly impossible to measure, not just because he was one of our founders, but because his dedication, values and genuine love for both employees and clients truly defined our culture and what we stand for as a firm. We all owe Batey and his wife, Ann, a debt of gratitude for a lifetime of service.”

Gresham received his Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University in 1957. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as first lieutenant from 1957-1959, and as a captain from 1961-1962.

Batey Gresham, along with Fleming (“Flem”) W. Smith Jr., FAIA, founded Gresham and Smith Architects (now Gresham Smith) in 1967. One of the firm’s first clients was the newly formed Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).

“While most architects were solo practitioners in the mid-1960s, we chose an alternate path,” recalls co-founder Flem Smith. “We were soon bringing people into our organization who had skillsets and talents that we didn’t have so we could serve a wider range of clients. Batey excelled in this search.”

Former Gresham Smith CEO James Bearden, who joined the firm in 1976 as one of its first 100 employees, recalls joining in the midst of a recession. “I soon learned that Batey had no intention of letting a slow economy hold him back,” said Bearden. “He forged relationships on behalf of the firm that continue to benefit us to this day. His legacy lies not only in his love of architecture and the built environment, but also in the investment he made in his employees. His leadership, mentorship and friendship have been a blessing to me and my family, and he will be greatly missed.”

Former Gresham Smith CEO and current board chairman Al Pramuk recalls visiting Batey in his office for the first time as a young professional. “What impressed me the most as I left our conversation was how kind and caring he was,” said Pramuk. “This is something that is still present in Gresham Smith’s culture. Batey will be missed by many, but no doubt it is how he treated others—making  them feel like they had value—that will continue on through the many lives he touched.”

Gresham was an active member of the Nashville and engineering professional communities. A registered architect in Alabama and Tennessee, he served in roles with several professional organizations, including the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Tennessee Society of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, the Urban Land Institute, the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives, the National Association of Industrial Office Parks, the Young Presidents Organization and the Chief Executives Organization.

In 1999, demonstrating his dedication to his alma mater and the architecture profession at large, Gresham, along with his wife, Ann, also an Auburn University graduate, established the Ann and Batey Gresham Endowed Professorship. At the time, it was the first endowed professorship in the university’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture’s 90-year history. He was an active member of the Auburn Alumni Association and, in 2005, was recognized by the association with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was established to recognize outstanding professional achievement, personal integrity and service to the university.

He also volunteered on the Board of Directors of the Alcohol & Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, writing in a 1999 commentary for the Nashville Business Journal, that volunteering on the board was “one way I can invest in the future of Nashville while participating in the solution to a problem that is hurting us today.”

Gresham’s commitment to employees formed the foundation of the firm’s culture that endures to this day. “Human beings comprise the foundation of the future of any enterprise,” Gresham once wrote.

There will be a private funeral service for Batey Gresham this week. The service will be followed by a reception for family and friends on Wednesday, August 10, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Fig and Ivy, located at 2290 Moores Mill Road in Auburn, AL.

Related Stories

| Sep 23, 2022

High projected demand for new housing prompts debate on best climate-friendly materials

The number of people living in cities could increase to 80% of the total population by 2100. That could require more new construction between now and 2050 than all the construction done since the start of the industrial revolution.

| Sep 23, 2022

Central offices making a comeback after pandemic

In the early stages of the Covid pandemic, commercial real estate industry experts predicted that businesses would increasingly move toward a hub-and-spoke office model.

| Sep 22, 2022

Gainesville, Fla., ordinance requires Home Energy Score during rental inspections

The city of Gainesville, Florida was recently recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Energy for an adopted ordinance that requires rental housing to receive a Home Energy Score during rental inspections.

| Sep 20, 2022

NIBS develops implementation plan for digital transformation of built environment

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) says it has developed an implementation and launch plan for a sweeping digital transformation of the built environment.

University Buildings | Aug 25, 2022

Higher education, striving for ‘normal’ again, puts student needs at the center of project planning

Sustainability and design flexibility are what higher education clients are seeking consistently, according to the dozen AEC Giants contacted for this article. “University campuses across North America are commissioning new construction projects designed to make existing buildings and energy systems more sustainable, and are building new flexible learning space that bridge the gap between remote and in-person learning,” say Patrick McCafferty, Arup’s Education Business Leader–Americas East region, and Matt Humphries, Education Business Leader in Canada region.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 90 University Contractors and Construction Management Firms for 2022

Turner Construction, Whiting-Turner Contracting, PCL Construction Enterprises, and DPR Construction lead the ranking of the nation's largest university sector contractors and construction management (CM) firms, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 90 Construction Management Firms for 2022

CBRE, Alfa Tech, Jacobs, and Hill International head the rankings of the nation's largest construction management (as agent) and program/project management firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 45 Engineering Architecture Firms for 2022

Jacobs, AECOM, WSP, and Burns & McDonnell top the rankings of the nation's largest engineering architecture (EA) firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 19, 2022

2022 Giants 400 Report: Tracking the nation's largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms

Now 46 years running, Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report rankings the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. This year a record 519 AEC firms participated in BD+C's Giants 400 report. The final report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories. 

Multifamily Housing | Aug 17, 2022

California strip mall goes multifamily residential

Tiny Tim Plaza started out as a gas station and a dozen or so stores. Now it’s a thriving mixed-use community, minus the gas station.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: