Miller Gorrie




Sentient Matrix


Sara Garden Armstrong

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Magnus Miller Gorrie (born October 20, 1935 in Birmingham; ) was the founder of Brasfield & Gorrie general contractors.

Gorrie, the son of Magnus James and Margaret Miller Gorrie grew up in Birmingham and New York. He graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1953 and worked a paper route and summer jobs during school, investing his savings in IBM (where his father worked). After graduating from Auburn University in 1957, Gorrie served in the U. S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps until 1960 to work in construction. In 1964 he bought the small construction firm founded by Thomas Brasfield in 1921. He changed the company's name to "Brasfield & Gorrie" in 1967, keeping the founder's name even though Mr Brasfield was no longer associated with the firm. Brasfield and Gorrie grew steadily over the next decades and expanded from typical commercial and institutional buildings into hospitals, factories and water treatment plant construction. In the 1980s the company opened offices in several Southern cities.

Gorrie has served on the boards of Colonial Properties Trust, ACIPCO, the Metropolitan Development Board, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the McWane Center, AmSouth Bank, the Business Council of Alabama, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Alabama, Baptist Medical Center, the UAB President's Council, and on various boards for UAB, Samford University and Auburn University. Gorrie was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 1997, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2002, the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame in 2003, the Alabama AGC Construction Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2006. He also received the Auburn Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the M. Miller Gorrie Construction Center at Auburn, supported by donations from B&G employees and dedicated in 2006, is named in his honor.

Gorrie and his wife, Frances have three children: Ellen (Walker), Magnus James II, and John Miller, and five grandchildren.


Mr. and Mrs. Gorrie selected renowned artist Sara Garden Armstrong to create a remarkable interactive art installation inspired by the science of MS. The sculpture is an abstraction of the central nervous system (CNS). It is interpreted and transformed into an art matrix, which becomes an independent force in the three-dimensional atrium. The sculpture is a study of form and space, an exploration and translation of scientific information into art. The content suggests the neuron with its axon, myelin sheaths, cell body, terminals, Nodes of Ranvier and the myelinating glial cells. The forms are created by an array of materials - abaca and kozo paper fiber, acrylic gel medium, programmable light emitting diodes, micro controller, aluminum, stainless and PVC. It becomes a complex dynamic of site and materials. The translucent abaca forms, with the light within, create movement and linear rhythms suggesting a nerve impulse. When the light discontinues it refers to Multiple sclerosis (MS) in which the myelin and nerve are damaged.


Sara Garden Armstrong is a visual artist working in myriad directions and scales, from large site-specific sculpture to artist books, all of which explore organic processes of change and transformation. Her most recent commissioned work uses a range of tools, including movement, light and sound, to investigate the interactions between various physiological phenomena and the human body. Armstrong has exhibited nationally and internationally for the past 35 years. She now lives and works in New York City and Birmingham, Alabama.