a teatray in the sky

architecture in atlanta

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Atlanta, Georgia, Photography by firthefirst on June 15, 2011

what happens when you plunk a troop of architecture nerds in a city none of them have ever been in before?  they go see architecture.  lots of it, while discussing architecture the whole time.  do you find yourself avoiding your architect friends sometimes?  that’s the reason why.

we snuck into Georgia Dome (home of the falcons), the world’s largest tensegrity structure because … well, we couldn’t resist.  it’s not any day that you see a real tensegrity structure that’s built as a functional piece of architecture.  even better, we crashed the Langston Hughes High School (go prowling panthers!) graduation in order to get into the space.  funniest moment of the day was being told by security that we could meet our graduate out on the plaza if we wanted to take photos with them.  oh why yes, I’ll go find my kid now.

I’m not sure which is wilder, the tensegrity dome or the fact that the entire olympic stadium complex is actually built on a massive substructure — what looks like flat ground is actually a platform floating seven stories off the ground.  below you have entire streets, train tracks … it’s coruscant, or blade runner in real life.

the high museum is probably one of the first buildings I ever read about when I first began studying architecture.  I also am generally a fan of good ol’ dick meier, except when he decides to make entire factory complexes out of the same three moves (piano-shaped pavilion, anyone?).  I was less happy about the renzo piano addition to the museum, especially when I realized that they completely altered the circulation to accomodate the new wing.  I bet dick is pissed.  you go up the monumental ramp and end up at a tasteless sign on a stanchion pointing you around to the back of the building.  way to go ren-pi.  the new wing, while clean looking, has little character, poor interaction with the original structure, and is generally fairly bland.  what impresses me is that, which not dramatically changing his design vocabulary, renzo later managed to make another museum expansion at the Art Institute of Chicago a very successful intervention complementing an existing structure.  even the best make mistakes, but they learn from it.  very motivating to see the two buildings back-to-back.

so I didn’t end up taking a lot of photography of the renzo addition.  the ceilings are fun (perhaps functional?  perhaps not), there’s some very elegant stair detailing, but … yeah the rest is blah, go to chicago instead for renzo museum work.  I was here to see the high museum.

what you find is classic meier, with all the best parts of his design language.  the fluid circulation, deep layering of views and space, and the feeling of joy in exploration.  you get to the bottom of the atrium and realize how guggenheim-like the space is.  I’m not going to compare the two because I feel that they have very individual characters, but the thought was there.

2 Responses

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  1. […] architecture in atlanta « a teatray in the sky […]

  2. drawandshoot said, on September 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Love these images!

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