My Proposal for Glenridge Hall District, Atlanta
Yesterday, I wrote about the precarious position of the most historic mansion in north Sandy Springs, Glenridge Hall.
You may have never heard of it, as it lay hidden in a thick forest off Abernathy and Glenridge Roads. But the 76 acre mega-site just went on the market yesterday– with no prescribed protections for the National Register of Historic Places Tudor revival manse, built in 1929.
And since the Perimeter Center area is exploding with the COX Tower II, High Street Atlanta, State Farm Headquarters, 100 Northpark tower, and the gigantic redevelopment of downtown Sandy Springs, this new major parcel will probably be a winner. I’m just concerned whether the winner will include the historic Glenridge Hall, its gardens, and hardwood forest.
So, I couldn’t go to sleep last night thinking about how to integrate a drop-dead gorgeous Tudor revival mansion into a mega-development.
Actually, the manor home is a no-brainer. Yesterday I mentioned the Kessler Collection, which has multiple magnificent hotel properties existing and planned in Savannah. But also, Ritz-Carlton is based here in Atlanta and they need to address the prestigious north side of Atlanta.
Glenridge Hall would be the perfect new Ritz-Carlton Sandy Springs. Like the San Francisco property, it would be using the prominence of an historic adaptive reuse.
The house is so grandiose that it has been used by Hollywood for the Salvatore Boarding House in The Vampire Diaries,
the Roosevelt’s’ Hyde Park home in the HBO film Warm Springs, and the New York hotel room and Commerce Club in Driving Miss Daisy.
Let’s not let this outstanding environment be destroyed. It can be a showplace for the new city of Sandy Springs.
Likewise, the brilliant residence could be the conceptual starting-off point for the architecture of the mega-development. Not in an ersatz-kitsch Helen, Georgia way which has sought to replicate German medieval and English Tudor architecture for its visual township language. But to respect its grandeur and design a modern mixed use commercial, residential, and retail/ restaurant environment that complements Glenridge Hall visually.
Indeed, the center of the development should be the historic buildings and the magnificent trees of the forest which has concealed Glenridge Hall for 85 years.
I propose a modern retail/restaurant village making up a square in the front of the mansion hotel, with necessary landscape improvements while respecting the existing significant context. March Creek would become a linear park to connect North Springs MARTA Station with the development, the new downtown Sandy Springs, and the Chattahoochee River.
See my preliminary master plan at https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zgJW5RxiszXI.kRSjong2ZsR4
New modern glass, steel, stone, wood, and limited brick buildings, if designed artfully,
would be the palette of the skyscrapers, mixed use mid-rise commercial / retail, townhouses and mixed use mid-rise apartments and condominiums.
An enjoyable walking experience would be the guideline for the development and today’s ubiquitous alternative transit would be provided by a here-proposed Sandy Springs Streetcar running from Dunwoody and Sandy Springs MARTA stations through the new Sandy Springs downtown development, the Glenridge Hall District and the new High Street development next to Perimeter Mall.
Following are some designs which would be fitting with the new Glenridge Hall District, as well as be expressive of old (yet always stylish) and new (continually changing) Atlanta:
“Modern things that go with Glenridge Hall”
This architectural mix needs to be curated carefully.
But, the compositional joy of a mega-development, if done expertly, is that the architecture and design flows smoothly and elegantly– unlike how the overall status of the current new Buckhead. To be clear, Buckhead Atlanta may be getting it right, but the whole area, including its lavish skyscrapers, seems to be an odd and uncomposed collection.
However, Peachtree and all of its surrounds are continually changing.
Downtown Sandy Springs needs to look at this composition of design elements. It would be a shame if one of the 60’s style centers of modern Atlanta were to try to replicate the now trite Woodstock way of faux-industrial brick buildings.
Sandy Springs has always been conceptually modern. I know, because I grew up there.