Three lovely things I saw tonight in our Downtown Atlanta neighborhood: an illuminated sculpture, a silent film in Woodruff Park (both part of the Elevate arts program this week), and a pink&blue sunset.

Morning sky in Downtown Atlanta

Morning sky in Downtown Atlanta

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Top photo: Elevate block party in Downtown Atlanta

Bottom photo: things that are true

Tags: Atlanta

A walk down Marietta Street, Downtown Atlanta

Somehow, despite the dead space foisted on its streetscape by the presence of parking decks and server storage towers (where entire buildings house nothing but computer/networking equipment), Marietta Street manages to stay pretty lively.

Luckily, in between those dead spaces there are actual office buildings, retail spaces and even a condo tower. During the weekday afternoons in particular, there are a lot of people walking on the streets and going in and out of store fronts. 

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the trio of buildings in that first photo.

trio of bldgs

Starting clockwise from the top:

  • 2 Peachtree dates to 1966. At 41 stories, it was the tallest building in the southeast at the time of its construction. It’s also known as the State of Georgia Building — but history nuts like me know it mostly as that monolith that now stands where there was once a beauty of a structure called the Peachtree Arcade.
  • 40 Marietta is a 1964 building with a very unusual build: it is supported entirely by the columns and beams visible on the outside. They serve as a kind of exoskeleton, making interior supports unnecessary.   
  • 20 Marietta, currently a condo building called The Metropolitan, is a true oddity. Underneath those dark sheets of aluminum lies a 103-year-old brick building. It was built in 1911 as the Third National Bank, then resurfaced in aluminum for full Mad Men-era effect in the 1960s.

Here’s what 20 Marietta looked like pre-resurfacing:3rd National Bank

Viewing the urban landscape of Downtown Atlanta through art

If you’re interested in seeing what my Fairlie-Poplar neighborhood in Downtown Atlanta looks like when the streets have been activated with art and are full of activity, tonight’s your chance as Elevate kicks off a week of public art. 

Here’s a full schedule of events. There will be living sculptures, film, dance and more. 

The photo above, from the Goat Farm Arts Center, shows the most prominent feature of this year’s Elevate. They’ve gotten over more than 20 metro artists to take part in a “Dumpsters” public art project. I’ve been seeing these things go up around Downtown for the last few days and they look impressive. The AJC has a story on them here. A quote:

The lumbering metal containers are starting to command attention in downtown Atlanta. Instead of flotsam and jetsam of the building trade, however, they hold serious art expressions and pure whimsy, quiet reflection and interactive sound and light, eye-catching aesthetics and recycled funky stuff.

The theme for this year is “Social City” and it hopes to encourage exploration and consideration of the urban landscape. Arts was really my entry to exploring Downtown Atlanta. I viewed the often harsh landscapes of pre-Olympics Downtown in the 1990s as an artist performing in interesting spaces, sometimes makeshift venues carved out of abandoned buildings.

The ironic beauty of urban decay together with the sincere beauty of historic buildings and streetscapes — that’s a great set of palettes for creativity. Something that surely contributes to the recent rise in arts activity here with FUSE, Eyedrum, Mammal Gallery and more making the challenging environment of south Downtown their home.

This is  a photo I took of last year’s awesome block party for the Elevate kick-off:

The kick-off event for this year’s is tonight. I’ll be taking part in Eyedrum’s "Live from Istanbul," projecting live feed of dancers in Istanbul onto dancers in Atlanta during a parade through Fairlie-Poplar at 8pm. 

The wasted space of roads designed for peak-car use 

[Via blogger cityhaul] “Georgia 400 construction, looking south toward Atlanta Financial Center, March 4, 1990.”

What an incredible photo this is. It shows the construction of Georgia highway 400 as it heads south into Atlanta’s Buckhead area and under a group of offices.I was just talking this evening about the amount of land in the city used for car infrastructure. There are many roads that are built wide for peak-use car capacity. Lanes are stretched out so that they can accommodate the masses of cars that pass through at peak hours. Think of all that space and how it goes underused and empty at off-peak times — meaning most of the hours in a day. And think of how wide it needs to be to channel cars versus trains, bikes or pedestrians, which all require less space per person. Think of how much walkable city could be built in that massive land space taken up by the highway in the above photo.
The wasted space of roads designed for peak-car use

[Via blogger cityhaul] “Georgia 400 construction, looking south toward Atlanta Financial Center, March 4, 1990.”

What an incredible photo this is. It shows the construction of Georgia highway 400 as it heads south into Atlanta’s Buckhead area and under a group of offices.

I was just talking this evening about the amount of land in the city used for car infrastructure. There are many roads that are built wide for peak-use car capacity. Lanes are stretched out so that they can accommodate the masses of cars that pass through at peak hours.

Think of all that space and how it goes underused and empty at off-peak times — meaning most of the hours in a day. And think of how wide it needs to be to channel cars versus trains, bikes or pedestrians, which all require less space per person.

Think of how much walkable city could be built in that massive land space taken up by the highway in the above photo.

Tags: Atlanta

The umbrellas of Broad Street on a rainy morning in Atlanta

The umbrellas of Broad Street on a rainy morning in Atlanta

Tags: atlanta