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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Adios, Georgia State's Kell Hall - and a chunk of the Concrete Campus

Day and night on the proposed greenspace that will take the place of Kell Hall
Over the next five years, Georgia State University's embarking on an ambitious plan to, well, look and feel more like a traditional college campus, and bring more greenspace to Downtown. To do so will require the demolition of Kell Hall, the former parking deck that was repurposed into an academic building. Rebecca Burns of Atlanta Magazine has an excellent piece in the alumni magazine that looks at the plan, which involves creating a greenway weaving through the university, and some of Kell's history.

What's particularly cool about Georgia State's greenway plan is that it won't just benefit the university. In addition to students having a more pleasant campus, Downtown residents will have a more attractive neighborhood. Burns delves into the topic and chats with an Atlanta architecture blogger and beloved member of the CL commentariat:

"As a resident, it's really exciting to see the level of street activity rise with these developments, particularly at night when the area around Woodruff Park was dead for so many years," says Darin Givens, who lives in a historic building that fronts the park. "Having more people on the street and more green space will make downtown feel safer and more livable. Put this greenway together with the surge of student population via the new One 12 Courtland housing development - bringing hundreds of new student residents here - and downtown is going to end up with more of the kind of college-town vibrancy you see in other urban campuses."

Givens, who writes about urban development and historic preservation at the well regarded blog ATLurbanist, remarks: "I think it's a great plan and a deceptively significant one. The activity around Kell Hall is fairly cut off from the street level with the pedestrian bridge across Decatur Street and a small courtyard that's practically hidden from street view; it's a setup that echoes the 'gerbil tube' pedestrian bridges of downtown's John Portman towers - a 1970s aesthetic that lifted office workers and students off the streets."

Give Burns' piece, which is accompanied with renderings, a full read.

(H/T Atlanta subreddit)

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