This lively guidebook surveys four hundred buildings within the
Atlanta metropolitan area--from the sleek marble and glass of the
Coca-Cola Tower to the lancet arches and onion domes of the Fox
Theater, from the quiet stateliness of Roswell's antebellum
mansions to the art-deco charms of the Varsity grill. Published in
conjunction with the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of
Architects, it combines historical, descriptive, and critical
commentary with more than 250 photographs and area maps.
As the book makes clear, Atlanta has two faces: the "Traditional
City," striving to strike a balance between the preservation of a
valuable past and the challenge of modernization, and also the
"Invisible Metropolis," a decentralized city shaped more by the
isolated ventures of private business than by public intervention.
Accordingly, the city's architecture reflects a dichotomy between
the northern-emulating boosterism that made Atlanta a boom town and
the genteel aesthetic more characteristic of its southern locale.
The city's recent development continues the trend; as Atlanta's
workplaces become increasingly "high-tech," its residential areas
remain resolutely traditional.
In the book's opening section, Dana White places the different
stages of Atlanta's growth--from its beginnings as a railroad town
to its recent selection as the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics--in
their social, cultural, and economic context; Isabelle Gournay then
analyzes the major urban and architectural trends from a critical
perspective. The main body of the book consists of more than twenty
architectural tours organized according to neighborhoods or
districts such as Midtown, Druid Hills, West End, Ansley Park, and
The buildings described and pictured capture the full range of
architectural styles found in the city. Here are the prominent new
buildings that have transformed Atlanta's skyline and
neighborhoods: Philip John and John Burgee's revivalist IBM Tower,
John Portman's taut Westin Peachtree Plaza, and Richard Meier's
gleaming, white-paneled High Museum of Art, among others. Here too
are landmarks from another era, such as the elegant residences
designed in the early twentieth century by Neel Reid and Philip
Shutze, two of the first Atlanta-based architects to achieve
national prominence. Included as well are the eclectic skyscrapers
near Five Points, the postmodern office clusters along Interstate
285, and the Victorian homes of Inman Park.
Easy-to-follow area maps complement the descriptive entries and
photographs; a bibliography, glossary, and indexes to buildings and
architects round out the book. Whether first-time visitors or
lifelong residents, readers will find in these pages a wealth of
fascinating information about Atlanta's built environment.
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