Emory University Parking Structure

Location:

Atlanta, GA
 

Owner:

Emory University, Atlanta, GA
 

Façade Architect:

Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates Architects (TVS) Atlanta, GA
 

Engineer:

Walker Parking Consultants Inc., Kennesaw, GA
 

Contractor:

Turner Construction Co., Atlanta, GA
 

Project Scope

Levels/Floors:

6
 

Finishes

Color:

Three different precast finishes provide visual interest to the façade.
• The dominant finish is smooth with some aggregate exposed through a moderate sandblast.
• Accented by insets and horizontal bands with a medium sandblast finish with deeply textured aggregates.
• A third, lighter, smooth finish resembling limestone is used at major entries and the cornice profile.
 

Award:

2001 PCI Design Award WInner — Best Parking Structure
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emory University Parking Structure
Emory University Parking Structure
Emory University Parking Structure
Emory University Parking Structure
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Architectural Precast Beautifies Parking Structure

Precast concrete created an abundance of detail, bringing human scale to a large parking structure and relating it to the university campus

The new curved parking structure at Emory University in Atlanta resembles an attractive grouping of collegiate buildings, rather than an enormous parking structure accommodating 1,897 cars. The architects’ skillful use of different design elements and articulated precast concrete components helped break up what might have appeared as a massive structure.

“Precast allowed us to incorporate enriching detail, such as the stepped returns around the windows and the overhanging cornices,” says Robert Balke, principal at TVS.

The parking structure is part of the Emory University master plan that will free the main campus from automobiles and restore pedestrian spaces to the heart of the campus. Shuttle buses, with a stop incorporated into the parking deck, connect the previously remote student apartment complex and the parking structure to the main campus. Screening parked cars from view as it curves into the hillside, the six-level deck was designed as a backdrop to the new student housing development.

The architects were guided in their design by Emory’s new master plan, created in keeping with the original compus designed by Henry Hornbostel, Emory’s first campus architect. “Our goal was to create architecture that relates classical proportion to contemporary form and detail,” Balke says.

Towers Break Up Façade
The façade, 550-feet long on the north elevation, is divided into different components by stair towers, overlooks and elevator/entry towers. These elements were designed in response to Hornbostel’s proportioning aesthetic. The pedestrian entrance to the north tower is a four-story, glazed, grand arch set into a rectangular tower below a hipped roof. Two false towers, serving as balcony overlooks, also help break up the long elevation. A graceful colonnade with tapered columns stretches across the north elevation between the main arched entry tower and the canopy at the shuttle bus stop.

Three different precast finishes provide visual interest to the façade. The dominant finish is smooth with some aggregate exposed through a moderate sandblast. This is accented by insets and horizontal bands with a medium sandblast finish with deeply textured aggregates. A third, lighter, smooth finish resembling limestone is used at major entries and the cornice profile.

Precast concrete details helped develop a human scale that is unusual in parking structures, Balke notes. The window/bay patterns make a pleasing rhythm along the façade. Integrated with true precast joints, one-inch-deep reveals provide score joints that create human-scaled divisions for the precast panels. A four-inch setback detail at each window opening creates shadows and expresses thickness. The precast concrete skin is omitted at certain locations. Near the building corners, a three-foot reveal exposes the cast-in-place concrete deck structure.

Enhancing the design is a metal bus-shuttle canopy that reaches over the arriving buses at grade level along the west entry tower. The curvilinear steel infill structure of the canopy supports skylight glazing and “leaves” of perforated metal that float below the skylight. The leaves provide visual interest by day and a surface to illuminate with uplighting at night. The underside of the canopy has graceful curved metal ribs supporting the translucent roofing. The underside of the north colonnade has similarly curved bracing along the exposed underside of the roofed canopy.

This attention to detail in all materials and the ability to make them all work together were key ingredients to the project’s overall success. They are symbolic of the fact that this handsome structure, considered a gateway to the campus, successfully relates to both the historic and contemporary sides of the university.

 
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