Terry Kearns is the author of Architecture Tourist, one of my favorite blogs. It was fitting that we recently met one another while touring a home, and serendipitous considering that I’ve wanted to feature Terry on A Is For Atlanta for quite some time. If you’re interested in Atlanta architecture, history or neighborhoods, Architecture Tourist is not just a must-read, it is the must-read. I’m really not sure how else to put it. Fortunately for me, Terry was generous enough to field a few questions from me recently- I hope you enjoy as much as I did…
Q. You’ve got three hours to meander through any neighborhood in Atlanta. Which one are you choosing, and why?
A. I’d choose the Dekalb Avenue east from Krog. It’s not an obvious place to look. Start at Krog Street Bridge and head east, turn anywhere into Inman Park, just anywhere. Make sure to check the “war” streets just west of Moreland: Battery and Degress. After you cross Moreland, cruise the “lady” streets in Candler Park: left on Josephine, right on Euclid right on Elmira. In Lake Claire you’ll see the huge continental divide mural at the Arizona Avenue underpass. Then turn left at Connecticut and tour the “state” streets: Connecticut, New York, Arizona, and Delaware. Then cruise “Southerland Hill.” Turn left on Southerland Place just east of the Lake Claire swimming pool to see Southerland, Oxford, and Gordon. Finally, tour the “garden” streets. Cross East Lake and turn left at Drexel. Make sure to see Melrose and Emerson, home to Ryan Gainey’s Garden of Poetry and Prose. Go home via Oak Grove, Kirkwood, Edgewood, Reynoldstown, and Cabbagetown…but that’s another meander.
Q. What are the essential “must sees” for Architecture Tourists in Atlanta?
A. How about downtown’s public lobbies? Whatever your tastes these lobbies impress. The Grant Building lobby is straightforward and reserved. The former C&S Bank is Atlanta’s Pantheon. The Healey Building has a gothic ribbed rotunda. The Hurt Building’s main entrance is an elegant rotunda that softens this huge building. The Candler Building lobby is small and perfect and ennobling. Visit the Victorian portrait gallery at the Ritz. At 191 Peachtree see the colossal Helena Hernmarck tapestry “”Urn”” and ride the escalator down to see Ray King’s “Atlantis.” The Peachtree Plaza’s lobby conveys the sense of the colossal hotel almost floating overhead. The Regency’s groundbreaking lobby remains spectacular and cozy. The Marriot Marquis’s lobby is a multi-level playground that my eye can never fully take in. When it’s busy – think Dragon Con – it’s one the best people watching places in Atlanta. Finally, the Sun Trust Tower’s elevator lobby is a pyramid in a square in a circle in a square with breathtaking clarity.
Q. Hidden Atlanta gems?
A. There are so many. I enjoy small scale public or public facing places: Oglethorpe Hill, The Villa Apartments, the former Scottish Rite Hospital in Oak Grove, the Cator Wolford Gardens on Ponce, the Little Chapel at Glen Memorial. Allow me to add the renovated Hinman Building at Georgia Tech though it’s not open to the public. It may be the most exciting indoor space in Atlanta.
Q. If you were given an unlimited budget, unquestioned power and the edict: “make Atlanta more beautiful”, what would you do?
A. Beautiful things continue to enrich us. It may be physical beauty; it may be functional beauty. But I’m rather an anti-planner and would be a terrible Tsar. So I’d abolish the position and retire with a big pension. Then I’ve volunteer to help folks enjoy these places and to find ways to preserve them as best we can.
Q. What is Architecture Tourist, and why is it awesome?
A. The most awesome thing about Architecture Tourist Blog is meeting people. Blog posts connect people. Once in a while we meet in person. What a pleasure.
Photo Credit: Architecture Tourist