The Atlanta Urban Design Commission (AUDC), under the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning, Office of Design, reviews plans and projects for historic buildings and districts in the City of Atlanta. Every year, the AUDC honors projects, programs, individuals, and organizations that have continued to enhance, preserve, and shape the City of Atlanta’s built environment at the annual Awards of Excellence and Community Design. This year’s ceremony was held May 11, and two Foresite Group structural projects were chosen: Armour Yards and Olympia Building. Congratulations! Our structural team thrives on the ability to provide creative design solutions with a unique team approach and “out of box” thinking. We are thrilled by the opportunities to restore symbols of historic Downtown Atlanta alongside great architects.
Our team worked with Smith Dalia Architects to renovate existing warehouse space, located on Ottley Drive in the transforming warehouse district, to parking and office space. Unique features of this project include adding a second level within the volume to house office space. Structurally, the challenge was to keep the second level completely isolated from the existing building, necessary for the current seismic code. When you make major modifications to a building, the entire building must be brought up to the current seismic design code. That would be a lot for this building constructed in 1968 and probably kill the budget and project. To avoid this, we added a “table top” that sits inside the warehouse.
The Olympia Building is located at the intersection of Decatur Street, Edgewood Avenue, and Peachtree Street, known as Five Points in Downtown Atlanta. Built in the 1930s, the building marked one of Atlanta’s most popular places to hang out. Before automobiles became popular, many people walked by this corner, grabbed a newspaper or visited the popular soda fountain located at this site. The building has had numerous tenants over the years including the iconic Wormer’s Hats. In the basement of the existing building, the original brick storefronts can be seen from when the streets of Atlanta were at an entirely different, lower elevation than they are now. Before the project, the existing building was broken into multiple tenant spaces and our team worked with ASD on renovations to house one retail tenant.
The entire structure was demolished during the renovation, with the exceptions of the historic exterior façade, small portions of the perimeter existing steel frame, the brick basement walls, and the 55’ Coca-Cola sign above the roof. In fact, during the renovation, the Coca-Cola sign had to remain in full operation, requiring a specific construction sequence and increased loading conditions to the new steel frame. Additionally, the existing façade, which is designated a landmark building exterior, had to be temporarily braced during construction. The new construction consisted of creating an entirely new, separate structure within this historical exterior.
About Foresite Group
Foresite Group is a multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and design firm composed of more than 120 associates nationwide. Our team's collaborative process results in creative products and services that help our clients achieve their goals. Our team takes pride in enhancing and developing the cities and communities where we live, work, and raise our families.