In late 2013, TSW selected Downtown Atlanta’s Five Points MARTA Station as the focus of the firm’s annual retreat. The purpose 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.
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. In this sense, the effort was less grand than previous plans for the area, and strove to identify concepts that would have the most impact for the least expense.
These concepts varied, but major themes that emerged included:
- Strategically adding greenery;
- Enhancing the nighttime experience;
- Improving the visual appeal of entrances;
- Incorporating public art, bright colors, and murals;
- Generating activity on the upper level of the station;
- Telling a story about Downtown and its history;
- Making modest architectural enhancements; and
- Considering maintenance and public safety.