Phoenix Flies, the Atlanta Preservation Center’s annual event that includes tours of historic places in Atlanta, is in full swing this month. One of the more than 90 events taking place during the festival includes the “MARTA-tecture” tour, highlighting the architecture in and around several MARTA rail stations.
The tour is being led by the Georgia chapter of Docomomo, an international organization whose name is a play on their overarching mission, the documentation and conservation of buildings and landscapes of the Modern Movement.
Much of Atlanta’s architectural landscape was shaped during the Modern Movement after World War II.
“Everything from Portman’s Peachtree Center downtown to Jova/Daniels/Busby’s Colony Square and the Woodruff Arts Center and the interstates and all of that, that is Atlanta,” said Charles Lawrence, president of the Georgia Chapter of Docomomo and MARTA-tecture tour leader.
Part of that Modern architectural landscape includes MARTA, the focus of Docomomo’s upcoming tour.
“The planners who were involved [in designing MARTA’s rail stations] early on understood the importance of having fantastically talented architects design these stations and all of the stations are designed by different architects," Lawrence said. "So you get these very personal touches across the entire system in a way that most transportation architecture doesn’t achieve.”
The tour will highlight the architecture in and around three stations: Five Points, Peachtree Center, and North Avenue.
Lawrence said that while all stations have something to offer, Five Points has earned a special place in his heart. “It takes a lot of cues from classic, central train stations, but it’s all done and interpreted through the lens of Modernism. But you have the same sort of rising up from underneath and finding yourself in a large atrium space that’s airy and bright and very much a ‘Welcome to Atlanta’ writ in concrete and polished granite.
Docomomo’s MARTA-tecture tour takes place Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m., beginning at Five Points station downtown.