|In late 2013, TSW selected Downtown Atlanta’s Five Points MARTA Station as the focus of the firm’s annual retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to bring together interdisciplinary teams of planners, architects, and landscape architects to explore ideas for improving an important public space in Atlanta. Five Points was selected for its strategic location in the MARTA network, its synergy with other ongoing initiatives, and TSW’s support for Downtown Atlanta.
During the retreat, staff divided into teams to explore high-impact enhancements that would serve the needs of station users, improve the station’s “curb appeal,” benefit Downtown residents, and, most importantly, make use of existing station infrastructure. The goal of the retreat was to identify concepts that would have the most impact for the least expense, rather than grand plans for the area.
The concepts that emerged from the retreat varied, but major themes included:
- Strategically adding greenery to the area to improve the aesthetic appeal and provide a sense of nature in an urban environment.
- Enhancing the nighttime experience by incorporating lighting and other features to make the area feel safe and welcoming after dark.
- Improving the visual appeal of entrances to the station, making them more attractive and easy to navigate.
- Incorporating public art, bright colors, and murals to enliven the area and create a sense of place.
- Generating activity on the upper level of the station, making it a destination for people to gather and enjoy.
- Telling a story about Downtown Atlanta and its history, by incorporating historical elements and markers throughout the station.
- Making modest architectural enhancements, such as updating the exterior of the station, to improve its overall appearance.
- Considering maintenance and public safety when designing the area, to ensure that it is clean, safe and easy to navigate.
Overall, TSW’s retreat at Five Points MARTA Station was a successful one. The interdisciplinary teams of planners, architects, and landscape architects were able to come up with a variety of high-impact and cost-effective concepts to improve the public space. The retreat also showcased TSW’s commitment to improving the urban environment and supporting the development of Downtown Atlanta.