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'Mayor Of Midtown' Architect Had Groundbreaking Ideas

We'd be remiss not to mention the death of Henri Jova, an architect whose imprint on the built world and communal strength of Midtown Atlanta is immeasurable. Through tributes to Jova — who died of an illness in Florida at age 94 on Jan. 13 — it's clear that the "honorary mayor of Midtown," as one friend called him, helped revolutionize Atlanta's philosophy on blending commercial and residential projects. And he took an aggressive approach to improving his neighborhood that others could borrow from today.

Jova went against the tide of mid-century urban flight, bought a house in the heart of Midtown and extolled the community's potential, helping organize the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Later, he designed Colony Square and — get this — sponsored a home-improvement contest judged by Mayor Ivan Allen, according to his AJC obituary. "Literally," writes the Saporta Report, "Midtown is the community it is today because of the leadership that Jova showed when he helped save the neighborhood."

The Saporta Report published an obituary recognizing Jova as "the last of a generation of young architectural imports to Atlanta in the early 1950s." His reverence for the city's history — yes, you read that right — led him to several preservation projects, including the restoration of the original Underground Atlanta, the site reports. But his imprint on Atlanta landmarks hardly ended there.

Jova was the lead designer on the Carter Presidential Center (1986 and 1993), Atlanta City Hall Complex (1991), Colony Square (1973), Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Sanctuary (2002), Atlanta Newspapers Building (1971), North Avenue MARTA Station (1981) and the Carnegie Pavilion in Hardy Ivy Park (1996), among many other projects. Perhaps his most distinctive design was a much smaller project: the Trust Company Bank building on Monroe Drive, reincarnated as Pie Bar (at right) and several other concepts.

· Henri Jova, 94: Architect helped remake Midtown neighborhoods [AJC]
· Saying good-bye to Henri Jova — Atlanta architect who saved Midtown [Saporta Report]

[Jova image via Saporta Report; vintage Carter Center photo: Britannica Kids; Pie Bar photo: johnmariani.com]