Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Academy of Medicine by Philip Trammell Shutze and R. Kennon Perry

During my senior year at Georgia Tech I lived across the street and one block north of the Academy of Medicine (1941). For 15 months I saw it every day.

I didn't find it the least bit inviting. I never set foot on the property. I figured it was for more important folks than me. There was rarely a soul on the property.

There was no ignoring it. But I never really looked, know what I mean?

In the 1970's and 1980's this area was in decline. The huge Biltmore a block south was on it's last legs. This was the edge of Atlanta's Hippie District. Cyprus Street, right behind the Academy, was a notorious cruising area.

It was an area with cheap rent for Tech students. It was an area that nice folks avoided. In the early 80's a group restored it but couldn't make it financially. They gifted it to the Georgia Tech Foundation in 2008. But I doubt the building has earned its keep in a long time.

It the mid-80's I went to a business meeting there and I "got" it. What is "it?" The closer you get to the building the better it feels. It remains formal and severe but it begins to embrace you.

This is the back side, the east side facing the parking lot. You can see the T-shape. The rounded wing to the rear contains a round auditorium with a domed ceiling. I can't find a picture anywhere.

You could put your eye out on that pediment. The tower windows light the entrance hall.

Walking counter-clockwise we get to the north entrance with Tuscan columns in antis, no fluting, no base.

Beautiful iron work, lean, and spare but not delicate.

Continuing counter-clockwise I peek about the corner to see the main facade on West Peachtree .

I start feeling that I belong as these column reveal themselves.

The view emerges through the magnolia and changes with every step on the wide walkway.


Approaching the door I have to look up. But considering the door and the comfortable porch I don't feel "small." I feel like this was built to suit me.

Looks lived in.

Finally I take one more turn to the south facade now facing a condo building. It's worthy of facing any street.


Who is R. Kennon Perry? That's a story for another post.

I'm going to the 2010 Philip Trammell Shutze Awards on February 20th in Atlanta You should too. In the run up to the awards I'm doing a batch of posts about Shutze in my "neighborhood." No pro photography or pro architecture was committed in this post.

terry @ surf303.com

P.S. Here are all my pictures. I must get back in late afternoon for more.


  1. Terry, it is amazing architecture. I am loving the iron work!


  2. Terry, I love your tours! Being from far, far north, it is so wonderful to be able to see the Atlanta architecture through an eye much more practiced than mine. And your teardown posts are very intriguing and addictive - I'm always coming back to see what's new.

    Please drop by my blog for a "Best Blog Award" for Architecture Tourist. Thank you!

  3. Terry, this is a very good series of posts. I introduced your blog to students the other evening recommending that they study your pictures closely if they want to understand neo-classicism and appreciate one the best, Shutze.

  4. Thanks Blue. I could certainly use some lessons myself.

  5. I always saw that building when I went to Georgia Tech and could never figure out what it was used for. Definitely stand offish though.

  6. I had my wedding reception there - it is a beautiful building, inside and out. Definitely tour the inside when you can.

  7. I am very curious about R.Kennon Perry, did you ever do a follow-up? What I’m wondering specifically is if the architect is male or female?


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