Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

dmccall

What's Wrong with Atlanta

22 posts in this topic

Around many message boards and development circles Atlanta takes a beating. People feel that there is too much sprawl, too much traffic congestion, and too much crime. I personally have always loved the tall buildings in Atlanta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


20070317-256.JPG

20070317-265.JPG

20070317-266.JPG

20070317-271.JPG

20070317-281.JPG

My conclusion is that John Portman's wife must have a fabulous face and the worst looking shoes you've ever seen. I honestly don't know how to feel about his architecture now. He's only partially to blame, though. The photo with his Suntrust Center on the left includes the exterior wall of the Hyatt's ballroom on the right. That addition was completed in time for the '96 Olympics and is just as brutal as any of the other blocks.

What's sad is that this nonsense continues all the way over to the Hilton. Some of the greatest interiors of buildings anywhere for sure, but these exteriors are an example of how not to develop. It's all left the area with virtually no solutions? :dontknow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You hit the nail on the head on my biggest criticism of skyscraper designers. They forget what is supposed to happen at street level. Thanks for sharing the photos and thoughts on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say that the older skyscrapers in Atlanta really offer nothing for the pedestrian. You could have also gotten a shot of the base of BOA Plaza, which is really set off to itself. The good news is that the newer towers seem to excel where the older ones fail. But I don't know how you really go about correcting what you see in the photos above in downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But, as many know it's not entirely the architect's fault. Remember that the client is the one that signs off on the architect's designs, and they are usually the ones that don't want to be connected with the street and be secluded from the "bad elements" of urban areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But, as many know it's not entirely the architect's fault. Remember that the client is the one that signs off on the architect's designs, and they are usually the ones that don't want to be connected with the street and be secluded from the "bad elements" of urban areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good thread. You really demonstrate your point. I remember being younger and driving to Atlanta and thinking it was utterly impossible to walk around in most areas---and that even if you did there was really nothing to do. I think Atlanta has changed for the better, but downtown still feels like a ghost town on the weekends, and it's next to impossible to walk around midtown and Buckhead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Very good thread. You really demonstrate your point. I remember being younger and driving to Atlanta and thinking it was utterly impossible to walk around in most areas---and that even if you did there was really nothing to do. I think Atlanta has changed for the better, but downtown still feels like a ghost town on the weekends, and it's next to impossible to walk around midtown and Buckhead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of Portman, read about his new humble abode in today's AJC Here's The Link

I wonder if this new house will be dominated by garages on one side, and framed on the other sides by 50-foot window-less concrete walls, with covered skywalks leading to the guest house(s) and random spiral staircases. I mean, why not treat his own house like he treated downtown?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree verge. The zoning laws have been changed and there is a concerted effort to create pedestrian friendly streetscapes. Its certainly a symptom of the 70's-80's, even 90's development but there are a few bright spots downtown.

Btw I don't know why it would be near impossible to walk in Midtown since many of us do it daily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martinman, I mean nothing against Atlanta as it is my favorite city. But you have to admit that Midtown Atlanta, as compared to most big cities in the North, is unwalkable. I was just there last week on the 1400 block of W. Peachtree and it was tough to walk. Not impossible, but very close to it. There are portions of it that are an enjoyable walk, but the majority of it.....well, it sucks to walk it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martinman, I mean nothing against Atlanta as it is my favorite city. But you have to admit that Midtown Atlanta, as compared to most big cities in the North, is unwalkable. I was just there last week on the 1400 block of W. Peachtree and it was tough to walk. Not impossible, but very close to it. There are portions of it that are an enjoyable walk, but the majority of it.....well, it sucks to walk it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I retract my statement. It is possible to walk around Midtown Atlanta. Just not very much fun.

You're navigating one-way streets that are five and six lanes across on narrow sidewalks with virtually nothing separating you from fast-moving traffic. Street-life is nice, but you encounter many dead areas as you're walking. The area from Peachtree to Piedmont Park is nice and enjoyable to walk but everything else sucks.

To me, that is my perceptions. Perhaps we walk different areas. I'm not sure. Just my perception.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martinman, I mean nothing against Atlanta as it is my favorite city. But you have to admit that Midtown Atlanta, as compared to most big cities in the North, is unwalkable. I was just there last week on the 1400 block of W. Peachtree and it was tough to walk. Not impossible, but very close to it. There are portions of it that are an enjoyable walk, but the majority of it.....well, it sucks to walk it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


^ I agree very much. It will only get better (and has only gotten better over the past few years).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great photos dmcmcall! I think this problem can be applied to many cities in addition to Atlanta. Even big sections of Chicago (like Streeterville) have desolate concrete canyons like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must confess that as many times as I've visited Atlanta, I've never really had a desire to walk around much. Although there are some areas that appear to lend themselves well to walking, I just don't get the "I really want to walk!" feel. But I think that's something I will have to overcome. There's nothing like experiencing a city on foot, I can tell you that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I enjoy Atlanta, and have walked around in several areas around midtown. Most of the time I'm in the area though it's after dark and I often get a very "uncomfortable feeling." (I'm talking about people begging for money, once having someone follow me to my car and ask for a 'ride', and having someone yell that I was 'racist' because I didn't want to have a conversation with him. Just to name a few.) I wish there was a much more active pedestrian scene, many areas seem cold and pedestrian 'unfriendly.'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ironic comparison isnt it? Atlanta may appear to be more dense at first glace due to the skyscrapers everywhere, but in reality DC is much more so.

It is probably possible to retrofit these towers with retail space on the ground floor. It will take some creative thinking and a lot of time. But I think the City recognizes those mistakes. What of the all the new skyscrapers going up around town? Are they mixed use (ground level retail)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown Atlanta could certainly be more pedestrian-friendly, though I think some improvements are being made. I found Midtown equally choked with traffic, though the scale was more suited to pedestrians-even if the streets themselves didn't appear to be designed particularly for people. With reference to downtown, Portman's projects are notorious for being unwelcoming to the pedestrian. Buckhead, on the other hand, did not appear to have much for the pedestrian. I think this is changing for the better, though I can't back up my assertion with a list of projects. Perhaps someone could help out here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Btw there is a plan to retrofit this section of the Inforum to include retail facing Centennial Park. It was designed as another trade center but is now used as office space which makes some of those loading docks unnecessary.

20070317-238.JPG

I've often wondered myself whats even possible to improve the pedestrian experience in those blocks. Downtown may have to rely on Peachtree, Farlie Poplar ,Allen Plaza and other areas with new development for improving in this aspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.