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Atlanta History Center Proposal, Atlanta, United States

Tuesday 10 Jan 2012

Wings of change

Images courtesy of Stanley Beaman & Sears 
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Stanley Beaman & Sears' proposal comes 2nd in competition for Atlanta History Center 

The story of the phoenix is a well-worn metaphor for the history of Atlanta. Reborn from its own ashes, the mythological bird symbolises reinvention, difficulties and breakthroughs, a resurgent spirit and a shining unwritten future full of hope. Stanley Beaman & Sears drew on this premise in their concept for the new Atlanta History Centre, suggesting that the project ‘be reconceived to capture and reflect the uplifting energy coursing through the city’.

The formal gesture emerges from the landscape, flies through the centre of the building redefining the interior spaces and bursts forth into the community with a grand, uplifting sweep of its wings. At once sheltering, inviting and dynamic, the new museum is created by flexible, adaptable, interactive, immersive zones. The challenge facing the Atlanta History Center is to serve and preserve the past, present, and future every single day.

Stanley Beaman & Sears’ concept incorporates a Knowledge Hub - an interactive and immersive display engine that incorporates an unprecedented ability to access historic documents with the touch of a finger - and Discovery Portals which offer new interactive learning cores providing direct visual access to the spotlighted collection and a fully immersive educational experience that expands upon exhibit themes and engages a range of multi-generational audiences in active learning, discovery and research.

There is also the majestically entitled Hall of Enlightenment of which the designers explain: “The dynamic, wing-like ceiling boldly redefines possibilities for flexible museum space and provides a clear spatial hierarchy between the new atrium and the garden overlook/ballroom pre-function space.”

Cross section panels allow displays to emerge and vanish into the spaces between the ribs while concealing necessary building systems such as ductwork, lighting and sprinkler piping hung from a unistrut framing system above. Much more than an exhibition system, the new structure symbolises history as a cross-sectional analysis of place, population, culture, and time. Rather than acting as a repository for things that have already happened, the newly designed museum is the flexible stage for the great things happening right now as well as those yet to occur.

Key Facts

Status Competition entry
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Stanley Beaman & Sears, Inc

More projects by this architect

Nemours Children's Hospital

Atlanta History Center

Blanchard Hall: Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation

The Erma Byrd Biomedical Research Center

Kennedy Krieger Institute Outpatient Center: The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building


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