In its most mod and imaginative era, 1960s downtown Atlanta gave rise to an architectural revolution where, soaring from the center of innovation, city blocks would influence neighborhoods around the world. It’s a design legacy that lives on today in the neighborhood’s glass towers, skywalks and soaring atriums — a cityscape you’ll likely recognize as the backdrop to one of the many films and television shows filmed here.
Defying critics and defining skylines, the progressive blueprints of 1960s nonconformists engineered a building boom that pushed urban planning boundaries beyond Atlanta. With progressive philosophies and radical design approaches at work, the area was producing some of the century’s most duplicated designs. A new school of architecture was established and multipurpose complexes transformed the modern metropolis.
Led by pioneering hometown architect John Portman, lines were blurred between contemporary architecture and art. Concepts explored greater themes like motion — elegant escalators, exposed glass elevators, revolving spaces — in hotel lobbies and restaurants, including Portman’s legendary Midnight Sun restaurant. And by embracing new methods and technology, designers reimagined the potential of previously uninspired materials like steel, glass, plastic and concrete, shaping tomorrow’s cityscape.
With lofty Peachtree Center — today home to the Portman-designed Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown, which reflects his original mid-century design with a modern twist — leading the way, downtown Atlanta’s creative cornerstone was set in place. The arts, food and music thrive here, from down-home barbecue to haute cuisine, and from street artists to modern galleries.
Today, the iconic blocks that gave Atlanta its characteristic look continue to evolve as towering symbols of local ideas and urban ingenuity, drawn to be dynamic from the start.