LOCATION: Atlanta, GA
PROJECT SIZE: 61,000 SQ FT
PROJECT COST: $70,000,000
Arm in arm, men and women of diverse cultures and backgrounds join in solidarity – moving forward with strength and determination to advance the ideals that unite them. Linked together, the human chain cannot easily be broken. This powerful image of unity – as common today as in the time of Martin Luther King, Jr. - is the idea which has driven the design of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
The simple yet powerful image of interlocking arms also invokes the spirit of exploration and collaboration that is central to the CCHR’s mission – signifying the linkages that empower individuals and groups of seemingly divergent interests to find common ground. Through this iconic form, discernible from ground level and from above, the very structure of the CCHR embodies the goals and ideals of the institution.
Rising from the earth to embrace visitors at both ends of the site, the terracotta clad building provides a powerful connection between the “Ellipse” of Pemberton Place and Ivan Allen Blvd. where groups arriving by bus enter the site. The terracotta rain screen which covers the building alludes to the long history of brick architecture in the south while providing a state-of-the-art exterior envelope that is environmentally sustainable and well-suited to the site. Emerging from the earth (terra firma), the building is clearly of the earth.
As visitors move between exhibits that are focused on the core themes, views from the front porch, bridge, and We Shall Overcome space offer respite and pause in contrast to exhibit content that is at times unsettling or somber. While the path through the building is clear and the sequence of exhibits is easy to follow, visitors have the opportunity to explore the building and discover additional content and unexpected views.
Conceived with sustainability as a primary consideration, the CCHR stands as a demonstration of best practices in environmental design. Storm water is managed through the use of green roofs, bioswales and reflecting pools on site. Through supplemental exhibits, this “green” building will show that conservation and the stewardship of the earth’s natural resources are fundamental human rights issues.
2009 AIA North Carolina Merit Award, Unbuilt (State)
Design Architect: Freelon
Architect of Record: HOK