Urban Live Work Studio

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Urban Live Work Studio

DECATUR, Georgia 30030

Project Location: 115-C NORTH MCDONOUGH ST. DECATUR, GA 30030
Completion Date: 01/06/2012
Owner: William Carpente

Builder: William Carpente

Project Description

Unresolved urban geometries intersect at the project site and become a proposition for the remainder of the project’s block (currently composed of early 19th century bungalows, now used as commercial space) The 2700sf Urban Live Work Studio takes advantage of contemporary urban strategies that encourage street-level activity through the elimination of building set-backs. The Urban Live Work Studio becomes the third multi-use building occupying the site, each with its own outdoor space at the level of the ground or on the roof.

The grain of the urban geometries informs the building structure, with exposed joists on lower levels running at the angle of the street. Two shear walls become organizing elements for the building’s interior, supporting a dramatic cantilever over the driveway to the south and framing an opening for a multistory stair to the north. Natural daylight is abundant throughout all of the building’s levels, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during the daytime when it is being used as a work space.

The residential level of the building is differentiated from the others somewhat subliminally, through its refinement and reduced scale. Ceilings are finished instead of exposed, and are at height which is generous yet comfortable. Wood columns and the beam which supports the cantilever remain exposed on this level, proving warmth through their materiality (there is no steel structure in the building). Above, the roof deck and garden provide views of the lush tree canopy, east to the historic courthouse and west to the Atlanta skyline.


  1. […] In 2015, the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave this project an “Honor Award.” […]

  2. Bryan Simmons September 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I live one block away from this property and am amazed and dismayed that it has achieved any sort of positive recognition, because I can assure you it is in no way a positive attribute to the community. First of all, this is principally a business, which happens to include some living space – so to win a “residential” design award is a joke. This building literally sticks out like a towering thumb in it’s location, compounded by the fact that it is shoehorn crammed onto the lot. This is the real reason that it cantilevers over the driveway, NOT due to some desirable “design aesthetic”. That’s the same reason it abuts the sidewalk – because the original single story residential house is still on the property and literally sits 4 inches off the back wall directly behind this ridiculous white monolith. The recognition it truly deserves is the “Absurd Out Of Place Over Development” award.

    [AIA Georgia has edited out part of this submission that diverged substantially from a review of the building itself, or the Design Awards process].

    • Lynn Robinson September 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      [From AIA Georgia] The Georgia Design Awards are decided by an independent jury, comprised of XX architects, educators, and designers from across the nation and chaired by an eminent architect from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their deliberations are based solely on the merits of the design and execution of the building, and in 2015 AIA Georgia received more than 100 entries – making it one of the most competitive awards in years.

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