Urban Atlanta, BeltLine serves as architecture laboratory
By Laura Diamond november 22, 2017
The assignment took the architecture students out of the classroom and put them in the heart of the one of Atlanta’s most transformative projects. Their challenge was to design a new bridge for the Atlanta BeltLine directly above North Avenue.
Students had three weeks to complete the project. There were some practical rules: movement across the pathway could not be interrupted; North Avenue must be linked to the BeltLine in a thoughtful way; and the design had to capture rainwater.
Beyond solving a practical problem, faculty in the School of Architecture wanted students to complete the exercise with a grander understand of design.
“World cities are defined by remarkable public spaces and that was one of the ambitions of this project,” said Michael Gamble, an associate professor and director of the school’s Master of Architecture program. “By rethinking something as simple as a bridge over North Avenue we sought to charge the space with something that would not only be inspirational, but would be spectacular. “
While the students’ designs varied widely, each was dramatic and provided opportunities for people to gather and reflect. The designs, which were on display earlier in the semester at the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, played with light and shadows, allowing the mood to change depending on the time of the day and the position of the sun.