Monday, February 11, 2008

Atlanta, where every day is opening day

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (photo via firm's website)

"Atlanta, where everyday is an opening day"
is a marketing theme meant to parlay the message that this city is dedicated to "Optimism, Opportunity, and Openness. " What the motto fails to explain is that these three O's actually describe the developers in this city not the dwellers.

It is a long story how Atlanta became a developers playground, but now they are going too far with their plans. The developers aspire to model a part of town called Buckhead after Rodeo Drive which they tout as "the streets of Buckhead." This was bad enough, but now they are bent on making sure the building pictured above comes tumbling down since it sits on a prime piece of real estate for the Rodeo Drive they have envisioned.

They are currently offering the city/county 24 million dollars (upping the ante from their previous offer of 18 million) to allow them to raze this unique piece of architecture which has won accolades outside the city. This makes me wonder is it really the modern building which WILL outshine their lackluster, unimaginative buildings of sameness that bother them? Or is it what the building actually holds, a library. A place not about turning a profit, but focused on welcoming people from all walks of life no matter their age or social status. It is a community center that meets the needs of everyone not just the wealthy.

The developers reasons for razing this unique piece of architecture seems to be about turning a profit, disdain for unique architecture, and possibly a thinly veiled way to make sure the library community moves out (or underground, "two floors above a parking garage") to make room for the pocketbooks ready to spend their cash on a pseudo Rodeo Drive. Take a nice long, look at what Atlanta had to offer because if you stick around long enough there will be another opening day around the corner, but now hopefully know what another opening day in Atlanta really means.

If you would like to voice an objection to razing the Buckhead library to build a parking lot:

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Contact Information for the Fulton county commissioners


Agent45 said...

I don't understand how an architect could, in good conscience, bear the responsibility of wanting that library razed. But I guess greed trumps respect on the Atlanta architecture scene. The "Opening Day" slogan should obviously be thrown away in a re-branding campaign. "Atlanta. As boring as you'd like it to be."

Matthew said...

The developers aspire to model a part of town called Buckhead after Rodeo Drive which they tout as "the streets of Buckhead."

And this is my #1 gripe about the Atlanta there nothing original here? On New Year's Eve we watch a big peach come down a pole...just like New York, but tackier. And when we wanted a new attraction downtown we built an aquarium...just like Chattanooga. And for an upscale shopping area we now have to ape Beverly Hills?