The ending of the Western & Atlantic railroad line was the beginning of the city of Atlanta in 1837. It went through a few name changes before it reached Atlanta – such as Marthasville (after then-governor’s daughter) or Terminus (after the rail location.) “Atlanta” – which is the feminine of “Atlantic” – apparently stuck and remains in place more than 180 years later.
One thing that has not changed over time is its identity and international reputation as a transportation hub. Keep in mind that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is still the busiest source of daily passenger flights around the globe. Direct flights to Asia, South America, and Europe have expanded the accessibility of metro Atlanta for over 1,000 businesses around the globe and 50 countries throughout the city represented by trade offices, chambers of commerce and consulates. In addition, Atlanta sets a record as the 3rd largest concentration of Fortune 500 businesses in the United States.
Even with all the changes made in recent years to the capital city of the Southeast, the soul of the city is still its heritage – which speaks volumes about the quality of life enjoyed in this contemporary city. From the “city too busy to hate” in the 1960s to the “city not too busy to care” in the 21st century, Atlanta is clearly still on the move!
You can find almost anything that you could imagine within the metropolis of Atlanta. From the creative environment of artistry and iconic music to historical landmarks and the core of the civil rights movement. Another highlight that is often overlooked, though, is the growing number of architectural landmarks. Feel free to take the time to enjoy the architectural beauty and ambiance of Atlanta’s most popular buildings.
The High Museum is the largest museum in the Southeast region. Richard Meier, winner of the 1984 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and Renzo Piano were the architects who designed this museum. The architectural design is further enhanced by 4 beautifully-structured quadrants – including a centralized light-filled atrium.
The Center for Human and Civil Rights is in the downtown area of the city near the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola. Many would agree that it is an architectural work of art designed by Philip Freelon. Freelon’s firm also lead the design and development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian.
The Sovereign skyscraper beautifully blends commercial space and condominiums with upscale dining and scenic seating. The Sovereign skyscraper – which is known as the tallest building in Buckhead – was designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates.
Officially referred to as Concourse Corporate Center V & VI, these “King and Queen Towers” are in Sandy Springs. You can see these 34-story towers from miles away. The tops of both buildings resemble chess pieces and wear white lattice crowns that light up on special occasions – such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and St. Patrick’s Day. Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates was the architectural company responsible for the design.
Comic book fans love to refer to the Symphony Tower as the “Batman Building” thanks to the wing-like glass faces placed above the roof. This 41-story skyscraper is found in the Midtown district. Designed by Pickard-Chilton of Connecticut, the Symphony Tower was the first high-rise commercial building to receive the LEED-CS Pre-Certification Silver Level.
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The Swan House beautifully combines the revival styles with a classical perspective. Designed in 1928 by Philip T. Shutze, the Swan House was initially built for Edward & Emily Inman. The Atlanta Historical Society stepped in to acquire the house after the Inman family passed away in 1966 for historical purposes. A complete restoration was conducted by the Atlanta History Center in 2004. It was even used to film certain scenes within the Hunger Games movie trilogy and Season 19 of The Amazing Race.
The Westin Peachtree Plaza held the record of the tallest building in Atlanta for more than 10 years. It even held the international record for the tallest hotel for quite some time. Architect John Portman is credited with design of this 73-story, cylindrical-shaped skyscraper with 5,600 windows. The Sun Dial Restaurant and Bar is regarded as a major highlight of this plaza – especially since it is a revolving restaurant that offers panoramic views of the entire city.
The design of the Georgia-Pacific Tower, a 52-story building in the heart of Atlanta, was finalized in 1982 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. A highlight of this skyscraper is the stair-like exterior built to stagger its way to the ground. It is built pink granite quarried from the city of Marble Falls, Texas. Being able to see this beautiful building glimmer and shine during a sunny day in mid-summer is truly a jaw-dropping experience that you will never forget.
The Flatiron Building is one of the largest and oldest standing skyscrapers in the city. The fact that it was first built in 1897 is truly astounding – especially when you consider how well it has held up over the years. Many people think about the Flatiron Building in New York City when the name comes up – primarily because that building has more fame (and height) than its Atlanta-based counterpart. However, what many people do not realize is that the Flatiron Building in Atlanta is 5 years older than the one in New York City. Bradford Gilbert worked hard to design this 11-story landmark. To keep its beauty and marvelous appearance, the Flatiron Building in Atlanta has gone through quite a few major renovations over the years. It is currently listed within the National Register of Historic Places.