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Portman's Georgia Tech Complex Strives for 'Vibrant' Plaza, Iconicism

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This is no ordinary mixed-use package

The vision for a Georgia Tech glassy brainpower incubator that would peer over The Connector in south Midtown — the High Powered Computing Center at Tech Square — is evolving, but it remains unmistakably John Portman, echoing facets of Westin Peachtree Plaza, Peachtree Center, and even AmericasMart.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle gathered the latest renderings for the 21-story HPCC when reps from Portman Holdings and John Portman & Associates presented details this week to the Midtown Development Review Committee. The renderings give the clearest indication yet how the 750,000-square-foot tower and data center could form a dramatic, arched plaza over storefronts and restaurants at 4th and West Peachtree streets. And with soaring street-level glass on three of four sides, it would appear to have a friendlier relationship with pedestrians than many of Portman's iconic downtown works.

The ABC report provides these interesting specifics:

The project also features a spiral staircase through the heart of the tower, a design meant to encourage collaboration between groups of workers housed on different floors.

And the idea of vibrancy is probably to be applauded here:

Architects said the project’s design was still evolving, but its goal is to continue building upon a vibrant environment in Tech Square, a landmark project that Georgia Tech launched more than a decade ago.

Blueprints call for a video wall within the plaza, a restaurant in what remains of the Crum & Forster Building, and a feature described as "cloud columns" facing Spring Street.

And now, for #TBT ...