April 18, 2012

0178 UNITED STATES (Georgia) – Skyscrapers of Atlanta

American cities names (the toponyms in general actually) are divided into three categories: that remind of the founders places of origin, that were taken from Native Americans or are related from them, and the third one. Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, belongs to the last one, his name being a shortening of the Atlantic-Pacific, because the city was born in 1939 as a terminus for the future railroad which would make the connection between Southern and Midwestern United States. In 1842 the settlement had 6 buildings and 30 residents, but in 1860, 6 years after rail lines had arrived from four different directions in terminus, Atlanta had almost 10,000 inhabitants and became the rail hub for the entire Southern United States.

Unfortunately the same reason that led to its birth and development, has brought also its destruction during the American Civil War. Who doesn't know the scene where Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) kissed Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), having as background the city on fire? In fact Margaret Mitchell, author of the novel Gone with the Wind, was born, lived and died in Atlanta, being buried in Oakland Cemetery. 

The city recovered quickly (under the sign of the Phoenix, which became a symbol of the city), and on the early twentieth century became a center of Southern business. In the 1960s, Atlanta was a major center of the US Civil Rights Movement, with Martin Luther King and students from Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement's leadership.

Architecture in Atlanta is dominated by modernism and postmodernism in its commercial and institutional buildings, and the city's skyline, which began its marked rise in the 1960s, is punctuated with highrise and midrise buildings. The most important (and visible) buildings in the image, located in downtown, are (from left to the right):

Westin Peachtree Plaza (220.37m / 1976) – the 17th tallest all-hotel building in the world, designed by developer/architect John Portman. The building is cast in reflective glass in a cylindrical shape that reflects much of the downtown skyline (though each of the around 6350 windows are flat and not convex)

Equitable Building (138 m / 1968) - a typical example of an International-style skyscraper, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

Bank of America Plaza (the one with the sharped roof, 312m / 1992) - the 53rd-tallest building in the world (was the 9th when it opened), designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates, and described as a Corbusian "tower in a park".

Georgia-Pacific Tower (the one in stepped, 212.45 / 1982) – designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

One Ninety One Peachtree Tower (235m / 1991) - designed by Johnson/Burgee Architects and Kendall/Heaton Associates Inc. It consists of two towers, each of them with a rooftop crown.

In the foreground can be seen the dome of Georgia State Capitol, designed to resemble the Classical architectural style of the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C. Completed in 1889, the building was designed by architects Willoughby J. Edbrooke and Franklin P. Burnham.

The skyscrapers in the image have successfully resisted the tornado that struck the city on March 14, 2008, suffering only moderate damage. The Westin Peachtree Plaza had for instance "only" 500 windows broken (out of 6350).

About the first stamp, feature the Statue of Liberty, I wrote here. The second stamp, a forever one, issued in 2011 with the occasion of Arizona’s centennial (1912-2012), depicts Cathedral Rock in Sedona, a painting by Arizona artist Ed Mell.

sender: Tricia / WileyCoyote (postcrossing)
sent from Macon (Georgia / United States), on 04.04.2012
photo: L. Fisher

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