1. The HIGH Museum of Art (1983) was already an Atlanta icon before Italian maestro, Renzo Piano, amplified its greatness in 2002. The original building was designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Richard Meier. It is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States and gives you great architecture.
2. This magnificent Bank of America Plaza was built for Atlanta’s C&S Bank Headquarters– which then is became Sovran, NationsBank, and finally Bank of America. It was designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Kevin Roche & John Dinkeloo in 1992. At 1023 feet, and 55 floors, it is the 60th tallest in the world, 8th tallest in the US, and the tallest in the southeast.
3. 1180 Peachtree, commonly known as the Symphony Tower, is a 41-story skyscraper. Rising to a height of approximately 657 feet (200 m), the building includes office and retail space. A Pickard Chilton design, the tower was completed in 2006 winning a Gold LEED Certification.
4. Built in 1987, this 50 story building is 820 feet tall and was designed by the late, openly gay, important architect Phillip Johnson with John Burgee. The base is surrounded by a garden with water fountains; the top is gold leafed.
5. At 902 feet tall and 60 floors,the Sun Trust Plaza is the second tallest building in Atlanta and the southeast. It was a departure for John Portman‘s more prevalent International style. The lobbies, plazas, gardens, sculptures and other art are enjoyable to experience.
6. Built by developer G. Lars Gullstedt, the GLG Grand is an art deco inspired 53 story tower built in 1992. The five star rated Four Seasons Hotel occupies the lower third of the building, with offices and condominiums above.
7. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta was the world’s first atrium hotel. John Portman created a dynamic hotel environment which had never been seen before. It is a must see– go inside this great work of architecture.
8. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is in Buckhead and was designed by starchitect Robert A.M.Stern. It originally opened as The Mansion on Peachtree, has 42 floors and condominiums above the hotel.
9. In 1991, Phillip Johnson with John Burgee Architects built the 50 story 191 Peachtree Tower. The double belvedere top, at 771 feet, may be the height of post-modernism architecture and was featured prominently during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The massive glass-roofed lobby soars to 102 feet, allowing a view up the entire structure.
10. The newly opened MODA, Museum of Design Atlanta, received a LEED Platinum rating and was designed by Perkins + Will. It is directly across the street from the HIGH and Woodruff Arts Center.
11. Currently under construction, but I couldn’t resist, is the PORSCHE North America Headquarters. It is being built in the Atlanta Aerotropolis development attached to the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. It represents the latest style in architecture.
12. Fifty story Sovereign was built in 2008 and designed by Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart. It is a mixed use of condos and offices in Buckhead.
13. The Atlanta Central Library has been considered a masterpiece by architectural critics since its completion in 1980. The brutalist style building was the last building completed by Bauhaus International style great, Marcel Breuer, who designed the Whitney Museum in New York. Even today, Atlantans still remember the elegant grace of the 1902 Carnegie Library, it’s predecessor. The facade of the old library was rebuilt into the Carnegie Education Pavilion in Hardy Ivy Park at Baker and Peachtree Streets. This great piece of architecture needs to be saved and would be a showpiece if the interior were correctly designed.
14. The new buildings for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were completed in 2006. It is a first-class, state-of-the-art facility and one of the few level 4 laboratories in the world.
15. The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is the home of the Atlanta Opera. The minimalist steel exterior gives way to the lavish marble, wood and Murano glass embellishments of the interior.
16. Paul Rudolf was one of America’s great architects and taught at the Yale University School of Architecture. The Cannon Chapel at Emory University was built in 1980 in a softer Brutalist style than a more typical Rudolph design.
17. The Marcus Nanotechnology Research Center, a 188,000-sq-ft facility on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, houses clean-room laboratories that support education, research and economic development in the areas of microelectronics, medicine, pharmaceuticals, nanoscience and nanotechnology. Bernie Marcus, a founder of Home Depot, was a major contributor to this facility.
18. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is a 750,000 square foot facility combining a ten-story office tower, conference center, museum, as well as facilities for processing checks and cash. According to Robert A.M.Stern Architects, “the mission of this project is to create a new facility to satisfy the Bank’s functional requirements, make a positive contribution to the City of Atlanta, and present an image of stability consistent with the Bank’s role as a model public institution.”
19. The G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons is a five story 220,00 square foot multi-disciplinary facility which took ten years to design. The sustainable building acts as an indoor outdoor common for students and features a grand staircase with integrated seating.
20. When the Marriott Marquis was completed, in 1985, it had the tallest atrium in the world at 470 feet tall. The interior is very dynamic as the atrium changes shape at every level and is always fun to visit.
21. Washington Post architectural critic Benjamin Forgey singled out this design by Scogin, Elam and Bray saying “All wrapped in black, this building clearly embodies a bright new idea about modem [sic?] architecture and, at the same time, a spirited, inventive take on the oft-ignored architectural possibilities of the commercial strip”. The Buckhead Library is deconstuctivist, controversial and interestingly cool.
22. Ten Peachtree Place was designed by architect Michael Graves.
23. The 28 story W Downtown Atlanta Hotel & Residences has the first private helipad.
24. Every world class city seems to have a triumphal arch. Now Atlanta does, too. The Millennium Gate reminds me of being in Paris or Washington Square in New York. This one has a full museum on the inside and an observation deck on the roof. Go check it out.
25. The area between 10th Street and 14th Street was long ago know as “Tight Squeeze” because the road was so narrow, two carriages could barely pass! I like the continuous double curve which the architects used as the motif of the 1010 Peachtree Condominiums. Tight Squeeze would have been an odd name!
26. When it was built, in 1976, the Peachtree Plaza was the tallest hotel in the world, and its atrium was covered with a water garden. The 69th and 70th floors are a revolving restaurant which is currently undergoing renovation. The building was constructed on the site where the Henry Grady Hotel once stood, as well as the original Governors Mansion.
27. Currently the tallest residential building in Midtown Atlanta, The Atlantic Residences has 43 floors featuring cut stone and art deco details.
28. Carved out of bedrock 120 feet below street level is the Peachtree Center MARTA subway station. The architects chose the expose the beautiful rock walls and combine the rough texture of the blasted rock with the smooth ness of stainless steel.
29. At the important intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont Roads stands Terminus 100. It is a 26 story office tower in gleaming glass and steel.
30. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History was built in 1992 and designed by acclaimed Graham Gund Architects.
31. The Life of Georgia Building was built from Georgia marble in 1968. It was the first skyscraper to be built north of downtown to become what is now Midtown Atlanta.
32. The worlds largest aquarium is the Georgia Aquarium, which also displays some stunning architecture.
33. When it was completed in 1996, the 24 story Sam Nunn Federal Center was one of the nations largest and one of the most energy efficient of its time.
34. The 1971 Trust Company of Georgia was built upon the site of the old bank founded in 1891 by Joel Hurt. In 1919, under the leadership of Ernest Woodruff, the bank secured the underwriting of the IPO for Asa Candler’s Coca-Cola. Years later, Woodruff’s son, Robert Woodruff became the president of Coca-Cola. SunTrust still holds the original formula for the beverage giant in its vault.
35. The Atlanta Hindu temple, officially called the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, was built from 34,450-pieces of stone: Carrara marble, Turkish limestone, and Indian pink sandstone. It is the largest BAPS temple in North America.
36. The Promenade II office building was built for an AT&T headquarters and was planned as a campus of 3 towers. At 40 stories and 691 feet, it is the seventh tallest building in Atlanta and could be called a cathedral to corporate postmodernist architecture.
37. Colony Square was the first mixed-use development in the Southeast, built between 1969 and 1975. The modernist architecture is patterned after the Unite d’ Habitation in Marseilles, France, by the “father of modern architecture”, Le Corbusier. (Note: The mundane office buildings are excluded from this list!)
38. The Micheal C. Carlos Museum at Emory University was begun in 1872, making it one of the oldest in Georgia. It houses the largest ancient art collection in the Southeast, including objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Africa and the ancient Americas. The 1985 building was designed by Micheal Graves, one of “The New York Five” contemporary architects.
39. The 52 story Georgia Pacific Tower was built in 1982 on the former site of the Lowes Grand Theatre, where Gone With the Wind premiered in 1939.
40. The Atlanta Equitable Building was designed by the international style corporate office building giants, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Chicago). It was built in 1968 on top of the old Piedmont Hotel site. The ornate carved Georgia granite columns in front are all that is left of the Equitable Building of 1892.
41. Designed by Arquitectonica and Populous, the Philips Arena was completed in 1999.
42. Spire is a 29 story condominium tower in midtown built in 2005.
43. A collection of warehouses from 1910-1924, along with concrete and steel additions became Westside Provisions District in 2008, an upscale retail shopping district with a rough patina.
44. This high school was named in honor of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a humanitarian and civil rights leader. It was renovated by Perkins & Will in 2012.
45. The Science Building at Atlanta Metropolitan College.
46. The new Dining Hall at Georgia Institute of Technology on North Avenue is adjacent to the dormitories built for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
47. Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein Architects of Atlanta received a 2012 AIA Merit award for their Tribute Lofts built in the Old Fourth Ward.
48. The octagonal stair-stepped roof help make the 1100 Peachtree an important part of the Midtown Atlanta skyline.
49. This hip 60’s round bank branch was a common futuristic look of Atlanta architecture in the period. Unfortunately, almost all examples of this period have been torn down. The Monroe Drive Bank branch of Trust Company of Georgia was designed by Henri Jova in 1963.
50. The 2012 Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal at the worlds busiest airport takes the aesthetic factor up, just a notch at the ATL. The 1980 airport was always more practical than aesthetic, now its just a bit more sleek and elegant. The 1961 airport, demolished of course, was very cool with gleaming terrazzo floors and ramps, aqua colored tile and glass walls and barrel-vaulted concrete scalloped roofs.
There are many other great buildings in Atlanta built in the last 50 years. This list is flawed and unscientific, but it covers some interesting and beautiful buildings, don’t you think?
- Pritzker Snub of Women Cuts Deep With 1991 Venturi Award – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Ada Louise Huxtable memorial explores architecture critic’s legacy (latimes.com)
- Top of the List: Architectural Firms and Owners of Atlanta Real Estate (bizjournals.com)