SPOKE was initially considered as part of a development deal with MARTA in 2011 and kicked-off with a series of community meetings and stakeholder sessions who all contributed to help make sure what was ultimately realized what in the community’s best interest. The charrette and study worked closely with Southface and the Atlanta Regional Commission along with a group of local non-profits, professionals and stakeholders. The focus was on exploring and formulated a vision for transit-oriented development on the underutilized MARTA parking lot on the south side of Edgewood/Candler Park MARTA station, in the Edgewood community of Atlanta. The new development, now completed in mid-2018, offers residents an urban feel without living in the city center. Many families and young professionals live in the area. Unique neighborhoods such as Little Five Points and Inman Park are just a short drive or quick train ride away. A mix of one, two and three-bedroom units offer spacious living areas, kitchen island and floor to ceiling windows. Around the community is a Peloton fitness center, bark park, saltwater pool, indoor bike storage, sky lounge with panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline and rideshare pickup areas.
Design ChallengeThe design team saw this development opportunity largely as a social problem that needed to be solved first, with any morphology merely adapting to that result. We researched the greater area neighborhoods, from Candler Park to Little Five Points, we found an amazing array of diverse communities full of incredible people doing incredible things. We looked at the Candler Park Music Festival where contemporary Bluegrass reigns, The Edgewood Community Garden where kids learn to grow their own food, the organic gatherings at the Lake Claire Community land trust, to the upside-down umbrella fantasy world of Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party. We found such a profound collection of amazing people that we resolved all this project needed to be was a solution that helped heal a connective urban condition between them all. Thus, SPOKE came into existence, an urban infill, residential solution to bring together and accommodate people from all spectacular hyper-local areas of the city.
Physical ContextThe morphology of SPOKE is mostly in direct response to its immediate context. While the need for density pushed most of the building to five stories tall, the design team broke the building down into distinctive component buildings depending on their frontage. Facing East, the building is a slightly bent three over two design that ‘hugs’ the plaza. On the South side, where the building faces a row of single-family homes, the building component is a 3-story structure, with a roof terrace stepping back at the 4th level, which employs proportions reminiscent of rowhouses. The North and West facades, where the land slopes away dramatically, faces the MARTA and freight rail and an older multifamily project, respectively. The rail side iconically boasts metal balconies with forward slanting solid faces, and inset balconies angled to face downtown with full height wooden screens, which are intended to work in concert to diffuse and deflect noises from the rail lines. Finally, the materials, mostly cementitious siding and masonry-like tile, were chosen to directly relate to their contextual precedents throughout the surrounding single-family typologies.