Wednesday, March 28, 2012

City wants you to redesign part of the old AJC building as gallery space

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM

After shuttering its downtown headquarters at 72 Marietta Street and skedaddling to Dunwoody two years ago, AJC owners Cox Enterprises gifted to the city of Atlanta the behemoth building the paper called home for 40 years.

Little activity has taken place at the property, worth an estimated $50 million, since being handed over to the city in November 2010. At the time, the city told the AJC its future plans could involve "police and fire training academies in the buildings, use the auditorium for public meetings, create a gallery space that formerly was at City Hall East, and use warehouse and parking space."

About that gallery space. Atlanta's Office for Cultural Affairs has announced RE:DESIGN, an architectural competition to help re-imagine the bottom floor of the building as a contemporary gallery space.

According to the OCA press release:

This pivotal re-design will focus on the visitors entry way and current lobby of the 9 story, 180,000-square-foot tower. This will be the very first space any visitor to the building will experience and the last before they leave. The gallery design selected will be able to host various, regional, national, and international contemporary exhibitions. Versatility is a key factor within the selection of a design. The space will be able to transition to best showcase 3d, 2d and installation artwork. Anticipated build out cost is estimated at $100,000.00.

As Thomas Wheatley has explained previously, "the property is really three buildings in one: an 180,000-square-foot, nine-story tower that housed the newsroom and AJC offices; a sizable warehouse with 30-foot ceilings; and, on the south end, the building that still contains the old AJC press. At three stories tall and 100 yards long, the press is like a ship in a bottle - the building was built around it."

Registered architects can submit their designs to a two-part judging process by a panel of architects, gallery and arts experts and business and community leaders. First round of judging filters the entries; second round forces the entrants to engage in Hunger Games-style life-or-death feats to win the honor of redesigning the space. Just kidding. They all get gift cards to make models to present at Judges Table.

PRIZES: "Second and third place contestants will receive public acknowledgement in print materials as contenders to the winning design. The competition winner will receive a cash gift from the City of Atlanta along with various additional awards including, public acknowledgement, a permanent nameplate within the gallery and a published review of their gallery design written by a design expert."

Submissions are due by May 15 (SOON); the new gallery opens October 2012 (VERY SOON). We've got calls into the OCA about who's on the panel, the amount of the cash prize and more and will update you when we hear back.

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