In Atlanta, Buckhead Park Over GA400

Buckhead Park Over GA400 in Atlanta has been designed by ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBWLA). With precedents in Dallas and Hamburg, it’s part of a new genre of urban infrastructure: built atop a highway, it strategically connects existing commercial/retail centers, mass-transit hubs, and potential development sites around an environmentally green core. A+A recently interviewed Robert M. Rogers, FAIA, about the project:

How does Buckhead differ from similar projects in Dallas and Hamburg?
Unlike the single cap projects in Dallas and Hamburg, Buckhead is conceived as a more dispersed series of public experiences, operating at various scales and with diverse programming and development possibilities.

What was NBWLA’s role in the design?
Rogers Partners is the lead design firm, and NBWLA has been our design partner for concept development.

Who wrote the design strategy?
As the lead design firm, Rogers Partners has directed overall design strategies. We have received valuable input from all of our consultants: landscape, engineering, and economic; and look forward to advancing the project working in partnership with our entire team.

Which members of your team were involved? Which from NBWLA?
Rogers Partners – Design Architect:
Robert M. Rogers, FAIA – Principal
Tyler Swanson, AIA, Associate
Elizabeth Stoel, AIA, Associate Partner
Alex Warr
Humbi Song

Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects – Landscape Design Architect:
Thomas L. Woltz, FASLA – Principal
Jeffrey Longhenry – Senior Associate
John Ridenour – Associate

What was the inspiration for the design?
Primary inspiration for the design was informed by Buckhead’s distinct and unique topography. Buckhead grew from an auto-centric system without an underlying urban grid, its dense center has developed in an ad-hoc manner that has left Buckhead bisected by the GA400. The canyon created by the highway, and the unique geography, geology and geometry of the Piedmont region led the design team to a concept that goes beyond straightforward solutions of capping – it is strategically specific to site, region and ecology.

What materials will be used?
Currently, we are looking at various prefabricated systems for both speed and ease of construction. The park planting palette will evoke the surrounding Piedmont region.

The challenges involved?
A project as complex and large as Buckhead Over GA400 naturally engages a broad constituency from commercial property owners to multi and single family homeowners throughout Buckhead. At the public meeting earlier this week, the project was met with widespread support from stakeholders and residents alike. Going forward, we will continue working with transportation and jurisdictional agencies and explore cost and funding logistics.

What effect will the park have on Buckhead?
We foresee the park having a positive impact on local, regional, national and international levels. Locally, it will enhance pedestrian connectivity and provide a robust opportunity for people to move around on a daily basis through a thoughtfully conceived and quality public realm. Regionally, the park will become a destination as it will host the premier MARTA stop, and will also be linked to Path 400 in the future. Additional links to the Beltline, regional trail systems will also increase regional connectivity. On national and international levels, the park will allow Buckhead to lead the way for other innovative cities aiming to develop truly integrated and progressive communities of residential, commercial and retail operations.

Does the park connect socio/economic communities that had been separated and divided by GA400?
Strategically integrated with MARTA, the park will not only be a vibrant local amenity but also a destination for the greater Atlanta community. Office tower, service sector, and retail center employees will experience the vibrant park landscape as part of their daily commute and on weekends anyone with a Breeze card or MARTA fare can hop on the train to the Park over GA400 for an event or a casual day in the shade of the park. 

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