Thursday, September 8, 2011

"87.63% Unattractive" - Kinder Baumgardner

Kinder was describing his take on Atlanta's downtown connector.

Central Atlanta Progress, and the Midtown Alliance hope to change that and they are making plans.

Kinder Baumgardner is Principal and Director of SWA Houston. He spoke last night at Georgia Tech. As planner dialed to "11" he presented breathtaking ideas to engage the public and excite the stakeholders.

"Push your client to do something great."

Your humble architecture tourist has expended big chunks of his life on the downtown connector. But I've never connected the connector with "beauty" until last night, listening to Mr. Baumgardner.


Did you know there was such a thing as a "I-75/85 Connector Transformation" project? Well there is; it even has a Facebook page: "Atlanta Connector Project."

"Museum of Freeway Art" a 5 mile linear museum.

Let's look at a few layers:

Left: the "green" layer. The connector corridor is a huge swath of land and there is room for trees and vertical gardens, a lot of room.
Center: the "lighting" layer.
Right: the "art" layer. The blue circles are art centers we already have.

"Art Tourists Spend More Money. It's a demographic to cultivate."

Folk Art Park is smack on top of the connector right now.

After a few more layers, I felt a bit hopeful.

I was thinking about the 5th Street Bridge which covers a bit of the connector. It demonstates how often-competing stakeholders can partner to do something great.

Students, professors, Midtown Alliance, and Central Atlanta Progress folks got an eyeful and an earful.

You can learn more in this brief presentation.

Find out about the Georgia Tech School of Architecture lecture series. They are free and challenging. The next one is on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM featuring Jeff Sheppard.


  1. "Art Tourists Spend More Money. It's a demographic to cultivate." - I'm glad someone in GA is finally recognizing this fact.

  2. The idea of layers is thought provoking. I especially like the green layer to help absorb carbon and maybe reduce that heat island effect.
    Thanks for the info. Patti @ PrettyOldHouses


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