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THE CITY OF FAIRBURN, located in southwest metro Atlanta, documented a need to make educational opportunities more readily available to its citizens. City officials recognized that an educational campus located in the city’s historic downtown area would support sustainable economic growth by acting as a catalyst for additional investment in the community. To implement its goals, Fairburn retained Historical Concepts to establish a place-making vision for a traditional educational campus. The key objectives were to convey a contextually appropriate vernacular and to explore the connectivity of the campus with the historic fabric of the adjacent community. Designed and constructed in just nine months, the first phase of the complex was funded by $9 million in municipal bonds and is a successful example of brownfield re-development at the small town level. The campus currently houses Fairburn’s administrative offices and serves as the Atlanta campus of Georgia Military College and Brenau University.
WITHIN THE CONFINES of the 4 acre site, bordered by existing streets on all sides, the design team created a classic campus quadrangle surrounding an open green. An Administration Building, inspired by historic civic and academic architecture, was designed as the site’s focal point. Surrounding a central lawn are four brick Classroom Buildings with selective classical detailing. Two small commercial ancillary buildings frame views to the Administration Building and suggest a formal entry point to the campus.
ARTICULATED IN TUMBLED BRICK AND CAST STONE, the Classroom Buildings possess a humble classical sensibility compatible with the architectural hierarchy of the campus and historic downtown area. The cast stone pilasters transition to brick pilasters on the sides of the central portico, a subtle shift in materials that allowed the buildings to stay within budget while still conveying an appropriate civic presence and scale.
THE CLASSICAL DETAILING OF THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING draws its inspiration from a nearby county courthouse. While the portico is a strong element, the standing seam metal roof is indicative of the softer, southern vernacular. A Greek Revival presence is marked by grand Doric columns, classical entablature, and entry doors with Greek surround details. The oversized windows also have a hierarchy of Greek detailing with architrave surrounds, panels, and cornice.