An iconic figure of raw concrete and modernity in Atlanta’s Midtown district, Colony House was built in 1972 and inspired by Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture. Specifically, Colony House is a tribute to Unite d’Habitation, Corbusier’s exploration of raw concrete material as an attempt to “…make beauty by contrast…establish a play between crudity and finesse, between dull and the intense...make people think and reflect.”
As ai3 conceptualized what renovations to Colony House might look like, they dispensed quickly with the idea of embarking on a historical preservation project and instead asked themselves, what would Le Courbusier design today?
From that one question, ai3 unraveled a solution based in Le Corbusier’s philosophy, rather than design, and those philosophies embraced by the Bauhaus movement to combine art, craft, and technology. Seeking to develop “built art,” as to which Le Corbusier’s work was often referred, ai3’s design solution combines drama with function. The stunning entry features a lobby sculpture, in Le Corbusier style, crafted of contrasting fluid wood forms with linear concrete ribs.
The current and future residents of Colony House factored heavily into ai3’s design. As sought-after residential space, Colony House is inhabited by individuals that respect their building’s modern and Innovative design. They appreciate its role in architectural history as the first large mixed-use development in the South. With this relationship in mind, ai3 designed a solution that would speak to people, make them think, cause their heart to beat faster, and give them pause to reflect.
To achieve this effect, ai3 brought the same “built art” approach to the resident corridors and other lobbies. By incorporating the use of a new technology, 3D Veneers, in their design, ai3 was able to design organic forms made of wood. The resourceful use of veneers gives ai3 the ability to design a solution at the scale needed to reach the multitude of residential entryways and corridors within the building.