Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Atlanta is renowned for its post-modern style of architecture. Little remains today of the Atlanta described in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With The Wind” as the railroad town lost most of its historical architecture to a fire in 1864. The rebuilt city is no less remarkable today than it was years ago, and has some of the most interesting examples of modern architecture. Atlanta’s skyline is as varied as its eclectic culture, displaying a mix of architectural styles including brutalism, classical and contemporary. Here is a selection of some of those buildings in Atlanta bound to capture an architect’s attention.
1. Center For Human And Civil Rights | Buildings In Atlanta
Paying homage to the American civil rights movement, the iconic structure holds great historical importance. Located among popular tourist attractions such as the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, the Center plays the role of a cultural anchor for Atlanta. The design for the building is inspired by spaces from around the world associated with human rights events and is said to embrace the concept of unity. The towering curved walls surrounded by an open plaza, hold various exhibitions and programs shedding insight on civil and global issues.
2. Atlanta Central Library
Another one of Atlanta’s gems is the Atlanta Central Library which is a major interest for architecture enthusiasts worldwide. Designed in the Brutalist style by international architect, Marcel Breuer, as his last work, the library has been an integral example of the Bauhaus movement. Although the state of the library has deteriorated, preservation efforts led to suggested renovations. The concrete building might not be as glorious as it once was, but it remains one of the most notable architectural icons of the city.
3. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir | Buildings In Atlanta
The last marvel on this list is Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, which is the largest traditional Hindu temple in the United States. The extraordinary white structure is a contrast to Atlanta’s stark modern architecture. With its hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone making up the exterior and Indian pink sandstone for the interior, the Mandir is a true vision and is surely not to be missed by anyone visiting the city.
4. High Museum
Designed by the Pritzker Prize winner, Architect Richard Meier, High Museum in Atlanta is an architectural marvel in its own right. The use of white panels along with glass, focusing on a light-filled atrium and the iconic ramp circulating through the entire building are components inspired by the Guggenheim. In addition to the splendid architecture of the museum, visitors greatly admire the vast and diverse collection of artworks that the museum houses.
5. Atlanta Mariott Marquis | Buildings In Atlanta
The 169-meter-tall Atlanta Mariott Marquis is the city’s 15th tallest skyscraper and one of the most luxurious hotels. Built in 1985, the Mariott Marquis is mainly for its two features: the bulging base, giving rise to its popular nickname, “Pregnant Building” and having the largest atrium in the world at the time of its construction. The hotel offers stunning interior and exterior views to its occupants and is an excellent example of brutalist architecture.
6. Bank Of America Plaza
Standing tall at a height of 311.8 meters, the postmodern skyscraper is the tallest building in the Southeastern region of the U.S. and the 21st tallest building in the entire U.S. The dark exterior of the building made up of black windows and red granite cladding paired with the traditional form of skyscrapers in the postmodern era is characteristic of the art deco style. At the top of the building is a spire covered in 23K gold leaf, glowing yellow-orange at night and making this structure the most prominent part of Atlanta’s skyline.
7. Mercedes Benz Stadium
A recent addition to Atlanta’s numerous architectural landmarks, the Mercedes Benz stadium was opened to the public in 2017 and has since become a popular destination. The design form is inspired by a falcon wing and is an ode to the Atlanta Falcons NFL team. The striking roof made up of 8 triangular petals operate in unison giving the impression of a camera aperture opening and closing. The triangular metal panels on the roof also make up the façade of the stadium.
8. Swan House | Buildings In Atlanta
The Swan House, designed by Philip T. Shutze in 1928 is one of the few surviving historical landmarks of Atlanta and undoubtedly, the most popular. Its classical design depicting elements of the renaissance as well as baroque style and lush landscape have intrigued locals and tourists for decades. Originally the home of an elite cotton broker heir, the Swan House was turned into a museum in 1966. The structure is recognized by many as it was featured in the famous movie franchise, the Hunger Games series.
9. Buckhead Library
Designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, the Buckhead Library challenges the traditional notion of library architecture and aims to connect the building to the civic activities around it. The structure is an avant-garde icon and was introduced to Atlanta in 1989. Since then, it has been part of cultural shifts in the area and despite being criticized in the early years managed to become a success for the city. The unique structure has always captured special attention and has been an integral part of the local community.
10. Flatiron Building | Buildings In Atlanta
The English American building, known as the Flatiron building due to its unique shape, is Atlanta’s oldest skyscraper. The building is most famous because of being similar to an 87-meter-tall landmark in New York City, U.S. with the same name. Ironically, the structure in New York was built 5 years after the one in Atlanta. Its distinctive form caused by a wedge-shaped site is what makes the building one of the most notable structures in the city.
11. The Fox Theater
This historical theater, which is now a performing arts venue, was originally built as a Shrine Temple. Midway the cost surpassed the budget for the temple and hence the auditorium was leased to William Fox, hence the modern name Fox Theatre. The architecture is characteristic of Islamic and Egyptian styles and was once described as “having an almost disturbing grandiose”. Nevertheless, the theater holds great significance, both historically and architecturally. It was listed as a National Historic Landmark in the 1970s when public outcry saved the theater from demolition.
12. King and Queen Buildings
Looking at the pair of 34-storey skyscrapers, one cannot help but marvel at the accuracy of the nicknames. Officially named Concourse Corporate Center V and VI, these towers are one of the most identifiable landmarks on Atlanta’s skyline with the “King” tower on the right and the “Queen” on the left. Standing side-by-side, at the towers’ respective tops are crown-shaped spires radiating opulence. The lights on the “crowns” are also known to change colors in the event of a significant occasion.
13. Sovereign | Buildings In Atlanta
Another skyscraper in Atlanta worth visiting is the 50-storey high curving Sovereign. Located in the upscale business district, Buckhead, the tower is surrounded by cultural avenues and offers unmatched views of the entire city to its visitors from one of the top floors. Another notable feature of the Sovereign is its glass façade with the tower gradually twisting upwards. It is the tallest mixed-use building in Atlanta and the structure graciously leaves its mark on a city filled with skyscrapers.
14. Symphony Tower
Another one of Atlanta’s towering skyscrapers, Symphony Tower or 1180 Peachtree is a 41-storey building known for its unique shape. The wing-like glass fins curving upwards on the north and south walls of the tower inspire the locals to call it the “Batman Building”. These tall fins light up at night and give Atlanta’s skyline an extremely dramatic effect.
15. SunTrust Plaza | Buildings In Atlanta
SunTrust Plaza, later renamed Truist Plaza, was designed by John C. Portman in the postmodern style which is such a key feature of Atlanta’s architectural landscape. It is a square tower with a geometric shape, ending with a pyramidal top formed by glass cubes stacked up. Today, it is the 2nd tallest building in Atlanta and the 55th tallest in the U.S.
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