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Is Atlanta's Skyline Slowly Becoming Another Vancouver?

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With few exceptions, Atlanta's famous reach-for-the-sky architecture has been MIA for a long time. Consider: Of Atlanta's 10 tallest buildings, only two — the Sovereign in Buckhead (No. 9) and 1180 Peachtree in Midtown (No. 10) — have been built since 1992. So a city that once knew no vertical limits is approaching a 25-year, mega-tower drought. These days, glassy, usually nondescript towers are filling gaps in the cityscape more than making sky-puncturing statements. The result is a larger population living in the city's central hubs, in medium-height developments with commercial bases, with an increasing reliance on mass transit and affinity for urban green space. There's a name for this urban planning and architectural phenomenon: Vancouverism. And each year, it seems Atlanta resembles its laidback Canadian counterpart more and more, minus the natural water boundaries and jaw-dropping mountain vistas.

Vancouver's compact skyline looks impressively huge in photos. But at 659 feet, the city's tallest building would barely crack the top 10 in Atlanta, and few of the tallest 30 buildings in Vancouver hold much visual appeal. It lacks a glowing crown like the Bank of America Plaza's, or the iconic cylindrical stature of the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Still, Vancouver boasts roughly 650 buildings over 115 feet tall, contributing to the fourth-highest population density in North America. Atlanta, which has no natural boundaries, has struggled with density for decades. But a quick glance at the crane-dotted skies above the city, and Midtown especially, could help relieve our density envy.

Roughly 18 towers are under construction or proposed in Midtown alone. These span from the Amli Arts Center (30 stories) to the architectural darling formerly known as 811 Peachtree (35 stories). In terms of height, they range from 867 Peachtree (nine stories) to the tallest of three proposed towers at 98 14th St. (60 stories), with the majority being 35 stories or less. Should most of those projects actually happen, it could change the dynamic of Midtown and make its aesthetics substantially more Vancouver-esque. Atlanta's new high-rise crop has been criticized as being generic and forgettable. But in terms of scope, maybe aiming a little lower is a good thing right now.

· Midtown Mock-Up Foresees Possible Skyline Future [Curbed Atlanta]
· Midtown Mega-Project Moves Forward, Called 'Doable' [Curbed]