Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Equitable Building paradox: the wonderful plaza and mezzanine use Design Pattern 114.

114. HIERARCHY OF OPEN SPACE: Outdoors, people always try to find a spot where they can have their backs protected, looking out toward some larger opening, beyond the space immediately in front of them. (A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander)

It's big, black, and boxy but not without charm. The huge "Equitable" sign at the top is an Atlanta landmark. From a distance, it's not very pretty; but the closer you get, the more humane it feels. I've passed here 1000's of times. It feels good somehow. Architecture tourists will find people there! Linger a few minutes on the plazza and take the escalator to Kinkos.

These days, we wouldn't tear down the old building, but at least they saved a few of the columns.

There is a comfortable plaza out front. The columns, fountain, art, street tables give it a human scale. There is an arcade where you can get out of the rain. It softens the feeling. In decent weather, you'll find people there. It's the most comfortable outdoor place on Peachtree downtown. In fact it's the only place that tries. Isn't the brickwork nice?

I revisited the building this week because there used to be a busy cafeteria on the Mezzanine. There is a Kinkos and an empty restaurant there now but the space is still magic. The only place like it is the restaurant at the Ritz Carlton: a view and connection with the street. The cafeteria was a bit more democratic.

Anyway, in the 70's before MARTA construction trashed downtown this was great destination for lunch. Here is an indoor place that fits Pattern 114.

Even my poor photograph shows how good this place feels. Here are some views. The Rhodes-Haverty, Georgia Pacific, and Chandler Buildings.

The Chandler Building

The Flat Iron Building is the gateway to the Farlie-Poplar district.

Central City Park, the Hurt Building in the background.

Actual pedistrians.

The scaffolds protect the sidewalks from tornado damaged windows.


  1. Beautiful photos - I love that Flatiron building and also the old columns are gorgeous. : )

  2. I should have given you a better picture of the Rhodes-Haverty Building. It's special:

    Rhodes-Haverty Building, Atlanta

    And the Chandler Building is also a flat-iron.

    Chandler Building Atlanta

    The Hurt Building is the 3rd flat-iron and my favorite, I worked there:
    Hurt Building, Atlanta

    You can see all of these and more from the mezzanine. It was a great place for lunch.

  3. I'd say the architects did a great job. I love the first picture with the old columns looking up at the new building. Very nice plaza out front too. It works for me! Thumbs up!

  4. It's Candler, not Chandler. You know, Asa Candler, who made all his money on Coca-Cola, and built the Candler Building as a monument to himself.

    But you're right about the plaza, and the mezzanine.

  5. I worked on the 25th floor for two years. One of the most fortunate thing about the sale is that now the planned renovations may not happen - they might still have the maquettes of the proposed design in the mezzanine if you go, look for them. They wanted to totally infill the walkway that wraps around the base of the building and fill in the plaza with shops. This feature of the building lets it be a sheltering, inviting presence in the city, where pedestrians can get into the shade without necessarily breaching the public/private bounds of the interior, and it engages the street and the public in a way that few others do.

    The Atlantids at the entrances to the Candler are fantastic, btw.


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