Pfaffman graduated from Savannah High School in Savannah, Georgia and from Auburn University in 1959. He worked in Hilton Head and for Abreu & Robeson in Atlanta, Georgia before returning to Birmingham. His local projects include buildings at Camp McDowell, Indian Springs School and Jefferson State Junior College. He was president of AIA Birmingham in 1979, and is known for his portfolio of "Tiny Houses", designs for homes of less than 1,000 square feet.
Pfaffman moved to Berkeley, California in the early 2000s and restored a 1915 Julia Morgan house before returning to Birmingham.
- "James Albert (Jim) Pfaffman" obituary (April 8, 2014) The Birmingham News