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Redesign could Spare Facade of Historic Downtown Building

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In the battle for preservation in Atlanta, the wrecking ball often wins despite public outcry. But this time, public preservation pressure has prevailed — at least for now. While just last month the century-old Forsyth-Walton building in the heart of Fairlie-Poplar was threatened by the neighboring tech building's need for new cooling towers, a redesign shown at a recent neighborhood meeting hints at a change of heart. According to Architecture Tourist blogger Terry Kearns and his preservation-minded compatriot Wendy Darling, the owners have heard the war drums and advised the architects to go back to the drawing board and reimagine the project as an addition to rather than a replacement of the historic edifice.

Darling reported on the presentation of this new proposal to the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association. According to that info, after the architects shared the original, faux-classical proposal with those in attendance, they acknowledged the backlash they've faced in the last few weeks. To demonstrate that they desire to work with the community, the architects revealed a second proposal created in response to the community's concern.

This new vision doesn't attempt to feign historic elements to match the additional three stories to the historic building. Rather, CNNA — the firm behind the proposal, based just a few blocks away from the downtown site — places what looks to be a modern glass and metal structure atop the two-story Art Deco building. Some may complain the addition is incongruous or even gangly, but the proposal allows the historic building to remain its own distinct entity, while making obvious that the upper three stories are new.

With both proposals now out in the open, it should be interesting to see if the tide turns in favor of preservation initiatives.

· Another Historic Downtown Building is Under Demo Threat [Curbed Atlanta]
· Historic Building Facing Demolition Renews Atlanta Preservation Debate [WABE 90.1]