ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER EXPANSION & RENOVATION
The Atlanta History Center is a unique venue and critical destination with the responsibility of presenting and preserving the abundant history of Atlanta, Georgia. The current museum along with its gardens and vast grounds provide a spectacular venue for visitors to learn, reflect, relax, and converge. As the number of visitors continues to increase and the museum becomes more embedded in the lives and culture of Atlanta, the facility recognizes it has reached a point where it too needs to embrace a transformation to accommodate these positive changes.
The highlight of our design is the connectivity to both the spectacular site and exhibit spaces of the Atlanta History Center. From the front entry visitors will be drawn through the new lobby and gallery spaces towards the rear of the building where views towards the trails, gardens, and historic homes will become a destination of their own. This connection to the site and the exhibits will encourage visitors to take part in all the Atlanta History Center has to offer.
Our solution consists of a slightly double-truncated tube that floats above the current museum’s first floor and houses traveling exhibits and classrooms. The first floor is reorganized internally to improve circulation and visitor flow from a common spine to its adjacent galleries. This public concourse is open from the front to the back of the main entrance level creating a multifunction public area that can be used for both museum and public events. The simple, yet elegant, second level addition allows the existing language of the museum to maintain its presence while introducing a complimentary counterpoint language that is simultaneously bold and dynamic while still being minimal and refined. The new glass clad element creates a new entry which acknowledges the formal green and drop off to the north of the building while welcoming those entering the facility from the west.
By extending beyond the face of the existing building, the entry is now clearly marked and bold, serving as a beacon to passing traffic, while not detracting from the traditional façade. Within the building, an expanded lobby has been created which serves as a central hub, providing clarity to the organization of the museum and direct access to all gallery spaces, thus eliminating the congestion that occurs from large crowds. The remaining portion of the central section of the main level has been opened up to serve as a “great hall” which can be used for reception space, exhibits, or even informal events, potentially providing an additional revenue source for the museum. Additionally, this area provides a clear and direct access to the ballroom while encouraging visitors to interact with the exhibits.