The Atlanta and Georgia chapters of the American Institute of Architects are enlivening the conversation on architecture in fresh and innovative ways—most integrally with their new headquarters on Edgewood Avenue in Downtown Atlanta, designed by 5G Studio Collaborative.
A grand opening on November 6 welcomed business and civic leaders to see and experience the engaging space, the new headquarters will also be a key destination for the industry when it gathers in Atlanta May 14 - 16, 2015 for the AIA National Convention.
5G Studio Collaborative’s design of the new 2,000 square-foot offices neighboring each other shines a fresh and welcoming light on the space where architecture and design leaders convene and preserve the standards and principles of the trade.
The AIA Atlanta and AIA Georgia offices are now based on the ground floor of an Atlanta center for community service. The Woodruff Volunteer Center—a 1960s-era international-style building—already engages with the public as home strictly to charitable, community service and not-for-profit organizations.
The new approach to the space benefits the entire Woodruff Center, providing the content and launch-pad of the design dialogue set in one of Atlanta’s most vibrant and growing areas of town. Supporting Downtown revitalization, the 5G Studio design carefully positions The Woodruff Center and AIA in the forefront of the public and political discourse on mass transit, walk-ability, and the Atlanta BeltLine.
The new Streetcar stops directly in front of the AIA office, connecting the Centennial Olympic Park, MLK Jr. Center, Jimmy Carter Library, the State Capitol, and the BeltLine together to create easy access to the culture and activity of Atlanta. The AIA offices and first-level of Woodruff Center are now engaged in the interaction as a strong, supportive component of the new transit options the City of Atlanta is developing.
Starting the Conversation on the Street Corner
Floor to ceiling glazing with windows on both sides of the corner space open the building up for connection at the street level. Sixteen-foot-tall storefront windows showcase big and bold articulation of the AIA ATL brand that captures immediate attention, with block sans serif lettering gracefully placed on a patina zinc wall, acting as a unifying bar enveloping the space. A stunning quarter-sawn white oak wall, sustainably constructed from local “forest free” oaks, creates more contrast with the grey zinc.
Also visible with the new open design is the working, active headquarter office where AIA staff choreograph the advocacy, standards, education, and public outreach programs. The open program space visible from the street is a fresh and inviting location for exhibitions and gallery presentations with a range of meaningful content for AIA Atlanta and AIA Georgia programs.
“The goal for the design was to connect with the community, while leveraging the Woodruff building’s history in the downtown area,” said Aaron Albrecht, Designer for 5G Studio, who led the team on the design architecture for the new AIA Atlanta and Georgia headquarters. “While opening up the space to view from the street level in an exciting conversation, we continued the expression of the building’s original character by exposing as many existing building components as possible.”
“The concrete waffle slab, structural columns, existing brick flooring, original bank vault, and tenant separation walls were all taken down to their bare material surface. We superimposed our own series of active and passive planes defined by materiality within the existing raw elements. This transformed the space into an inviting and welcoming destination for AIA.”
By combining exposure of all structural components and opening up, the space has established a defined and stronger visibility for the office in the midst of this center of Downtown Atlanta vibrancy and activity, making it a city and state hub for design.
Continuing Dialogue Inside: Maximizing Space with a Great Wall
In the interior, the 5G Studio design for AIA Atlanta accomplishes the need for separate, yet joined spaces.
5G Studio intersected four main program elements with a functional datum, or bar of rooms. Within this programmatic datum resides study and meditation rooms, surrounded by a large office space, galley/entry space, meeting room and a kitchen/catering/meeting room overflow space. All of these spaces connect to one another to allow for either inclusion or isolation—collaboration or concentration. This is done through a series of sliding, pivoting and folding doors.
The central elements of transformation in the 5G Studio design are a large vertical bi-fold door and single pivot door on the front main wall. With the doors closed, spaces can serve a specific function; but when splayed open, a large meeting room, classroom or lecture hall is generated, with gallery space for public events and receptions or a multi-use room for conferences and group collaboration.
These two programmatic elements, datum wall and separation wall also take into account the request for sustainable materials and multifunctional elements. The front separation wall and movable doors are all clad in forest-free white oak (otherwise destined for a chipper), while the programmatic datum bar is clad in a patented flat-lock zinc panel.
Behind the large wood wall adjacent to the main space is the headquarters for AIA Georgia, with an office created from a former bank vault. The highlight of the space is the preservation of the original 18-inch-thick concrete bank vault used as a pedestal for a mezzanine-level executive office. The two story element is a key form in the office, creating a sense of verticality in a single story space with 22-foot ceilings.
Sustainability All Around the Corner
5G Studio designed the new space with a goal of LEED certification.
Addressing physical comfort and energy usage, each office space has:
· motion and daylight sensing LED lights;
· 16-foot high motorized Mecho shades;
· recycled sound attenuation baffles;
· rapidly renewable cork flooring;
· forest-free wood;
· TSC formaldehyde-free certified plywood;
· regionally sourced materials;
· repurposed existing materials; and
· access to public transportation and alternative transportation.
Ergonomic furniture and privacy screens also enable an extra level of comfort during the workday.
The new space is already receiving accolades for design. 5G Studio Collaborative received Rethinking the Future's 2014 international award for interior Commercial Architecture, with a juried panel of judges among leading global architects. 5G Studio Collaborative also received the 2015 Small Projects Award from the American Institute of Architects Georgia Chapter in April 2015 for the firm's work on the AIA Atlanta and Georgia headquarters.
About 5G Studio Collaborative
5G Studio Collaborative is an award-winning architecture and design firm with offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and international teams abroad, encompassing all business sectors. They seek visionary clients with challenging projects that require highly inspired design solutions.
Their teaming and programming approach efficiently transform client visions into effective and enjoyable environments through skillful negotiations on complex project requirements.
By engaging and encouraging the client to actively participate in the co-creation of their projects, 5G Studio aims to inspire the enduring sense of pride of ownership among all stakeholders.
5G Studio can be reached at 404-591-4141 or by visiting www.5gstudio.com