Wakefield Beasley & Associates
About Wakefield Beasley & Associates
Led by founders Lamar Wakefield and John Beasley, this firm has offices in a variety of cities nationwide. Although not located in Atlanta, Wakefield Beasley & Associates is selected for its iconic contribution to the city: the mixed-use portion of the home of the Atlanta Braves. The firm has designed office buildings, movie theaters and theme parks, golf course clubhouses and conference hotels, and resorts. It has also contributed to the creation of several civic, courthouse, and educational structures in the American South, including communities throughout the state of Georgia. Operating with teams, each led by experienced designers who excel in a particular project type, the firm strives to achieve optimal results through both specialization and collaboration, encouraging design teams to challenge one another and to seek shared solutions. The firm aims to create beautiful and sustainable buildings that are highly flexible, marketable, and cost effective to own and operate.
In its most notable achievement to Atlanta, Wakefield Beasley & Associates collaborated in the design of a large-scale, mixed-use complex to accompany the stadium that is home to the Atlanta Braves. The structure — The Battery — houses 500 residential units, a hotel, a number of offices and corporate spaces, multiple restaurants, and retail. The design includes a building dedicated to Comcast’s regional headquarters, a nine-story tower with an innovation lab, a restaurant, views of SunTrust Plaza, and several office spaces. The building houses 1,000 local employees alone. The firm’s Avalon properties have received awards and recognition, and its LakePoint Sports Pavilion design in Emerson, GA features a 265-foot slope comprising a single gymnasium, with 12 high school basketball courts and 24 USA volleyball courts. The design received the ENR Southeast Best Practices Award in 2016.
Davis Architects, Inc.
About Davis Architects, Inc.
Davis Architects is highlighted for its mixed-use commercial structures in Atlanta. The firm, run by Neil Davis, was originally started by E.B. Van Keuren. In 1946, the company evolved to design high-end educational, institutional, and commercial structures. Today, the firm is still growing, with two new partners, Julee Potter and Gregory Clever, joining in 1999. The firm has operations in both Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia, the second of which works largely on mixed-use designs. To best serve the Atlanta community, in 2016, the firm developed Studio Architects, a new firm born out of, and sharing, the mission and vision of Davis Architects. The firm has received numerous awards for its work in Alabama and has been recognized in many publications for its designs. Its structures have even been featured in traveling art exhibits. In Atlanta, the firm has designed large-scale retail and mixed-use buildings and created multi-family residential complexes.
An urban infill project in Atlanta, 131 Ponce holds 280 apartment units and a two-story parking structure. The building features scenic views of the Atlanta area and puts residents and visitors within walking distance of amenities, restaurants, and the historic Fox Theater. In Athens, Georgia, the firm, working with Wilmot Greene, transformed the interior of the 1889 Georgia Theater into a fresh and new Art-Deco style to match the building’s historic exterior. The transformation is famous for its curved and intersecting stairways and balconies, creating energy flow of audiences between performances. The design fosters excellent views and acoustics that are said to recreate the “magic” that was lost during a 2009 fire. A new rooftop restaurant and bar area provides views of downtown Athens. While the firm is well established in Alabama and many other regions nationwide, Davis Architects’ Atlanta-led team is embarking on many mixed-use and commercial properties in the state of Georgia and was included on Expertise’s list of the top 18 architects operating in Atlanta.
John Portman & Associates
About John Portman & Associates
John Portman & Associates is selected for its accomplishments and acclaim. John Portman, founder and chairman, is a world-renowned architect known for trying out big and new ideas. The Peachtree Center, a 14-block complex in Atlanta, Portman’s hometown, shows off a number of his best-known designs. The Peachtree Center started in 1960 and now includes AmericasMart, the world’s largest single wholesale marketplace. Downtown, the Hyatt Regency building received international recognition from The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune, which called John Portman the most influential living American architect. Famous for his mixed-use complexes, his work has been featured in museum exhibits in Atlanta, and the Angel Orensanz Foundation chose him to be Member of the Senate of the Accademia Internazionale d’Arte Moderna in 1966. He has served on a number of boards specific to the arts in Atlanta and earned awards, including American Institute of Architects (AIA) medals. His projects appear in six books, and a documentary has been made about his architecture. Today, the firm continues to serve people by creating designs rooted in basic, human needs.
The Peachtree Center received the 2006 Building of the Decade award for 1956-1965 at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Atlanta 100 Years of Atlanta Architecture awards ceremony. At 18.9M square feet, the building is Atlanta’s biggest mixed-use structure, containing offices, hotels, AmericasMart, health clubs, meeting and event spaces, retail, and entertainment venues that fill 14 city blocks. The structure offers interior and exterior parks and plazas, many of which display large sculptures. A new office tower is currently being designed. Also in Atlanta, the Westin Peachtree Plaza building earned the 1978 Innovations in Hotel Design AIA Medal. With 1,100 rooms, an exhibition center, and a ballroom and meeting space, this 73-story building takes up 56,548 square feet. At the building’s center sits a 90-foot tall lobby skylight, featuring works of art. At the top of the building sits a multilevel, revolving restaurant made out of glass that showcases sweeping views of the city. Currently underway is the firm’s complement to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. The firm is working on a 12-story airport hotel that will include 440 rooms and designs intended to create a sense of movement within the natural world. The building is being designed so sunlight streams through the windows in a particular way, rushing water noises drift through the structure, and a tapestry of green plants gives people an oasis from the bustling airport not far away.
Roche Dinkeloo & Associates
About Roche Dinkeloo & Associates
Roche Dinkeloo & Associates, recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Firm Award, is highlighted for its famous achievement in Atlanta: the design of the Bank of America Plaza. The firm is pioneered by Kevin Roche, an architect with decades of experience, and Managing Principal Christiaan Dinkeloo. The team works on large-scale projects across the world to provide services like master planning, programming, architectural design, interior design, specification, and construction administration services. The firm has designed 38 corporate headquarters, three hotel buildings, eight museums, and several educational and institutional structures. Its national achievements include the Central Park Zoo and the design for the expansion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The firm has received the Pritzker Prize and several awards from the AIA, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Academie d’Architecture, and many more.
The firm excels in international, large-scale commercial projects ranging from Dublin convention center to the Helsinki Guggenheim, and a renovation of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In Atlanta, the Bank of America Plaza is a skyscraper structure that, at 1,024 feet, is currently the 96th tallest building in the entire world. In the United States, it is the 14th tallest building, and within the state of Georgia, it is the tallest building of all. It is designed in Art Deco-style, and its dark colors were chosen to reflect the formal nature of its purpose and function. A 90-foot obelisk resides at the top of the structure that reflects the overall shape of the entire building and contains a 23-karat gold leaf spire. Beneath the obelisk sits a glowing, steel pyramid reminiscent of a style used in the Messeturm of Frankfurt am Main. While an hour-and-a-half south in Columbus, Georgia, Total Systems Incorporated is another commercial project created by Roche Dinkeloo & Associates. At a whopping 1M square feet, the campus sits along the Chattanooga River and provides riverwalk for both tenants and the general public. Completed in 1999, this structure has broad, sunlit stairs and an elliptical atrium.
BLDGS is chosen for its distinguished leadership. Principal of BLDGS, David Yocum, AIA, studied at Dartmouth and at Harvard. He oversees design projects at BLDGS alongside Principal Brian Bell, AIA, who studied at the University of Washington and Harvard University.Both Yocum and Bell are professors of practice at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture. The firm has won several awards, including the 2017 Architectural League of New York Emerging Voices Award and the prestigious 2016 Atlanta AIA Silver Medal Firm Award, recognizing design excellence and community leadership. The firm focuses on large-scale civic projects, like museums, educational buildings, art galleries, and corporate offices. Its work has been featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Some of the firm’s clients have included Bloomberg LP, Steelcase Inc., and Georgia Institute of Technology.
In one of the firm’s more small-scale but significant projects serving the Atlanta community, BLDGS famously turned an old auto repair center into the Congregation Or Hadash Synagogue — a conservative Jewish gathering place and religious place of refuge in suburban Atlanta. The project of “Or Hadash,” which means “new light,” started with a 1990s-era, one-story steel building framed by asphalt and punctuated by 23 drive-in garage doors. BLDGS designed new windows and exterior spaces situated in such a way as to allow views of tree canopy rather than asphalt and traffic. The firm put in a courtyard, created a brand-new entrance with views of nature, an administrative wing, a morning service chapel, and eight classrooms. The project was meant to respond directly to the needs, values, and aspirations of the congregation, and although a modest project compared to the majority of the firm’s work, it fosters a sense of renewal and connectivity in the community. Another project, the Ferst Center of the Arts, makes up a critical portion of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus. In 2011, BLDGS designed a complete expansion and renovation of this building with the goal of bringing the presence of the arts front and center of the campus. The final product was 45k square feet of a main stage theater, rehearsal hall, practice facilities for students, a black box theater, and new indoor and outdoor, fully landscaped performance venues, not to mention a new front performance plaza and lobby featuring prolonged glass windows to encourage curiosity.
Lord Aeck Sargent
About Lord Aeck Sargent
Singled out for the strength of its presence and the scope of its successes, Lord Aeck Sargent operates with over 3,000 projects completed since 1942 and a team of 160 experts in architecture, interior design, urban design & planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, sustainable design, cost management, and construction administration. The firm works out of six offices nationwide. Fifty of its team members are certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), 70 of its projects have been LEED-certified designs, and Lord Aeck Sargent is one of the pioneer firms in The 2030 Challenge, a sustainability movement urging a 50-percent reduction of energy usage in new commercial buildings and in major renovations within the private sector. Of its projects in museums, arts centers, multi-family housing and mixed-use buildings, government buildings, laboratories, and corporate headquarters, to name a few, the firm has earned 200 awards, including three R&D Magazine Laboratory of the Year and multiple AIA Honor Awards for Excellence in Architecture. The firm is also a member of 1+, meaning one percent of the team’s working hours are dedicated to pro bono and nonprofit services. Joe Greco, president of the firm since 2010, studied architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard GSD and granted a scholarship to study at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Antonin Aeck, founding principal, has experience in four countries and in 15 states in the US. He has received numerous awards and is a former AIA Atlanta Chapter president.
The Swan House, one of Atlanta’s historic landmarks, was originally a 1920s home designed by architect Philip Trammell Shutze and belonging to Mr. Edward Inman — in his time, the wealthiest man in Georgia. The property is included in the National Register of Historic Places and operates today as a house museum. In collaboration with The Atlanta History Center, Lord Aeck Sargent designed an elaborate renovation of the house. From 1998 through 2004, major structural alterations were made, such as restoring the cascading water fountain and garden walls, redoing the interior to better match and honor its original 1920s aesthetic, and recovering the historic butler’s pantry. All mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and security systems were installed and brought up to date, and each addition, from the plasterwork and the marble and wood to each decorative painting, was diligently researched to ensure historical accuracy. The exterior of the home has been featured in films, including The Hunger Games. Seventh Midtown, which Lord Aeck Sargent designed with The Loudermilk Cos., is an impressive building featuring luxury residential condos and above ground-level retail. With 48k square feet total, the building includes private roof terraces, two penthouse suites, and 21 full residential units total. The property has been recognized by AIA.
HOK is selected for the magnitude of its accomplishments in entertainment and transportation in Atlanta. The firm is a global team of 1,700 architects and designers spread throughout 23 offices on three different continents who have been working, since 1955, to enrich people’s lives through excellence in innovative design. The firm’s mission is to design projects through “the creative blending of human need, environmental stewardship, value creation, science and art.” The firm has received countless awards over the years for projects in London, Singapore, Hawaii, Canada, California, Hong Kong, and more. President and CEO Bill Hellmuth says that HOK is headquartered everywhere and nowhere so that people all over the world can access HOK’s services. Although hugely successful in large-scale architectural projects, a large part of HOK’s mission is conducting research. With both clients and partners, HOK seeks to discover new solutions to the challenges of the built environment.
With 2M square feet (71k for NFL games, 32,456 for MLS games), the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of the most well-known landmarks in Atlanta. In collaboration with other firms like tvsdesign, Goode Van Slyke Architecture, Stanley Beaman & Sears, and BuroHappold, HOK created the design for a sports arena that is considered a Georgia icon. Inspired by the Roman Pantheon, the structure’s roof consists of triangular and semi-transparent “petals” that strategically let in sunlight by moving along tracks, and open and close in the manner of a camera lens. The exterior sections operate as a transparent 16-story window to city views. A 1,075-foot video board wraps around the roof’s perimeter, and the stadium features 2,000 other television screens. The structure is made up of over 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cable and includes a 600k-square-foot cistern that collects and reuses rainwater, as well as preventing neighborhood flooding. The stadium was designed to accommodate Falcons games, Atlanta United matches, and even worldwide events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball games, and large concerts. Architectural Digest has called the project “one of the most beautifully designed stadiums on the planet.” HOK is also collaborating with Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C., and Chasm Architecture, L.L.C., two Atlanta firms, on a massive project to modernize a domestic passenger terminal of one of the world’s most utilized airports, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which in 2015 became the first airport in the world to hold more than 100M passengers in one year. The project is a $6B expansion involving 60k square feet of structure estimated to take 20 years to complete. The plans include a 15k-square-foot atrium to feature a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene-paneled dome above a nature-filled setting reminiscent of Atlanta’s landscape, complete with both natural and LED, energy-efficient lighting. The redesign includes improved clarity between different areas, and easier ways for guests to flow between sections and corridors.
About Cooper Carry
Highlighted for success and creativity, Cooper Carry is a firm whose guiding principle is people-oriented and connective architecture — designs that foster long-lasting connections between people living in a given community, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life. Blurring the lines between design services and creating design teams shaped to match the communities they serve, the firm is led by Principals Brent M. Amos, Pop Bullock, Brian Campa, and Angelo A. Carusi, and President Kevin R. Cantley, to name a few. Affiliated with countless organizations from AIA to APA and ASLA, the firm puts environmental sustainability at the forefront of its designs, going out of its way to ensure that all aspects of the building process — from the materials used to the methods used to construct new structures — are compliant with the most sustainable initiatives and guidelines. The firm has received almost 150 awards for design, including AIA and ASLA awards. Many of its awards were received for achievements specific to the state of Georgia, and for projects completed within the Georgia community. In 2014, the firm was ranked as third in gross architectural revenue for an Atlanta-based firm, with $35,043,307.
Cooper Carry received awards in 2013 from Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Georgia Engineering Alliance for its Academic Science Building in Atlanta Metropolitan College, a project the firm designed with the partnership of Paul Cheeks Architects. At 55k square feet, the building is central to the main campus entrance and houses several classrooms and laboratories to foster research and ingenuity in biology, anatomy, physiology, organic chemistry, physical sciences, and engineering. The rooms come with high-end audio-visual equipment with up-to-date features. The firm is also currently working on a project that started with an old parking lot in midtown Atlanta. The new structure, situated between a Four Seasons and a Marriott Suites on 14th Street, between West Peachtree Street and Crescent Avenue, will be the first vertical construction on a Marriott property shared by two brands. The 266k-square-foot building will be made up of almost 300 rooms and include a parking structure as well as a rooftop pool and lounge area. Also central to Cooper Carry’s influence on the city of Atlanta is a project to renovate the city’s Central Library. Despite initiatives to tear the historic building down, the firm has specific design plans to bring this local gem back to life.
Perkins + Will
About Perkins + Will
Perkins + Will is selected for the scale of its projects and the largeness of its vision. The firm is comprised of over 2,000 professionals throughout 20 offices worldwide and boasts countless achievements in the areas of architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. As well as being committed to sustainability, the firm also conducts research to produce new design technologies and ideas for improving built environments. Annually, the firm receives hundreds of design awards and has been ranked one of the top firms worldwide. The firm’s presence in Atlanta goes back 36 years and has a number of distinguished principals, but David Dymecki, managing director, has three decades of experience in the programming, planning, and design of large-scale athletic and recreation projects. He is a lecturer and writer on the subject of architecture and has contributed to projects like the Coppin State University, the East Campus Athletic Village at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the renovations and additions to the historic Payne Whitney Gymnasium at Yale University, and the recreation center for the University of Massachusetts. For the sixth year in a row, Perkins + Will was ranked the number one firm in Atlanta gross architectural revenue, with $60,180,443. With 73 registered architects in Atlanta, Perkins + Will was also determined one of the largest Atlanta firms.
Among the firm’s most notable designs in Atlanta is still a project in progress: 98 Fourteenth Street, Atlanta’s soon-to-be second tallest building after the Bank of America Plaza, will be a 920-foot residential and commercial tower central to the Midtown Art Walk, an area that features widespread pedestrian landscape punctuated with interactive art pieces. The building will contain 74 stories with 382 luxury residential living spaces, 180 corporate suites, a heated infinity pool, conference and media rooms, a fitness center and yoga studio, a children’s play area, storage for bicycles, and a gourmet bar and kitchen. The ground level will feature retail, and a full-story sky lounge will offer views of the city of Atlanta. The building is set to be completed in 2020. Although the building is still in progress, it will be a remarkable addition to the Atlanta skyline and have a wide-ranging influence on the community.
Few firms have so strong a presence in Atlanta landmarks. This female-led firm was originally founded by Bill Thompson, Tom Ventulett, and Ray Stainback, as a means of creating inspired designs through close collaboration. With 50 years of experience, and several commercial and institutional projects built around the world, tvdesign is now one the most sought-after firms on this list, with the most inspiring scale, and type, of projects. Its vision is a world where public spaces give neighborhoods energy and where people feel connected to their dynamic communities, thereby inspiring cultural growth and economic development. Operated by President Janet Simpson and Managing Principal Becky Ward, the firm received two national awards from the Employee Stock Ownership Association at the 40th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, and three GA Design Excellence Awards from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The firm collaborated with HOK on a design for the remarkable Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and other designs include the Georgia Dome, the CNN Center, the Omni Hotel, the Georgia International Plaza, and most recently the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2014, tvdesign ranked third in Atlanta gross architectural revenue, with $29 million. In 2017, they posted $31.8 million.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta nurtures and displays several thousand species. Until the Marine Life Park in Singapore opened in 2012, it was the largest aquarium in the world. The building’s large, blue metal exterior is indicative of cutting-edge initiatives in preservation, conservation and education, enabling us to engage with the secrets of the ocean. Its 550k square feet position visitors, it is said, into elaborate confrontation with its exhibits. Another significant tvdesign creation, the Georgia World Congress Center Complex, contains 350k square feet of exhibit space. The complex housed a number of events during the 1996 Summer Olympics and acted as the setup location for the International Broadcast Centre. The tvdesign team designed a linear concourse at the interior, filled with light, from which the meeting and exhibit areas flow as branches from a tree.