RE-DESIGN: Atlanta Gallery Competition
Stanley Beaman & Sears Architecture, 2012
1st place

Once the cornerstone of a bustling Marietta Street, the former Atlanta Journal Constitution building has fallen into a state of underused anonymity. Currently occupied by only the Department of Watershed Management, the vast majority of the building remains empty and stagnant, waiting for the moment when it can begin to shine, thrive, and play a critical role in the ongoing restoration of downtown Atlanta. An architectural move that glows against the existing building façade and flows into the interior will provide the catalyst to pull pedestrians from the street into the pristine, renovated, inviting galleries.

This gleaming moment is much more than pulled taffy architecture. It is a striking icon announcing the growth and progressive thinking of a city on the move.

It is a shimmering marquee breathing new life on the street and guiding visitors into the building. It weaves together the flexible galleries and provides a visual hierarchy of the interior spaces. This is an invitation that wraps the needs of the gallery today within the imagination of what the city may become tomorrow.

The dynamic twists and bends of the form recall the movement of paper through newspaper printing presses and the shifting lines of nearby railroad junctions. While this energetic form highlights the building entrance and lobby, the galleries that flank it on both sides are designed to disappear, fading into the background and allowing the artwork to speak. Pure white flexible galleries provide the open floor plan needed to exhibit a diverse range of work.

The North Gallery moderates light through shading devices attached to the existing curtain wall, providing an ideal space for film, video, digital projection, installations, and other light sensitive artwork.

Meanwhile, the South Gallery welcomes the light and the transparency in an effort to reveal the art within and engage the public with a visual presence on the street. The modulation of light throughout the spaces provides a full gradient of exhibition possibilities.

Projecting into the future is a difficult exercise. When it was still a small city dependent on the train lines to connect it to the country beyond, few could have predicted the energy, growth, change, and movement that define the city today. Atlanta has become a forward thinking hub of creative potential and international activity. A downtown gallery is uniquely positioned to showcase the energies coursing through the city: a storied past, emerging master plans for the future of the area, an entrepreneurial spirit and a true sense of civic pride. The redefined galleries gather these exciting threads and provide a space capable of reflecting a bright future of optimism and hope.

(credit: all images provided courtesy of Stanley Beaman & Sears Architecture)

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