High Museum of Art at Georgia-Pacific Center

Project Description

The project is a public art museum located within an existing corporate office tower in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

The space is within an existing “greenhouse structure” approximately 24 feet wide by 140 feet long by 40 feet tall, located at the rear of the main lobby behind an auditorium. The long dimension of the greenhouse faces directly south toward the day-long exposure of the Southern sunlight.

The Museum program includes space for approximately 5,000 square feet of gallery (750 running feet of display surface), administrative offices, museum shop, art preparation, receiving and shipping and circulation for a total of 12,000 square feet.

The solution was to design a building within a building. Classical elements of an architectural composition—procession, facade, entry, symbolic space and program—are rearranged to adapt to the existing conditions.

The primary images of the museum architecture are established by the forms of a ramp system and the vaulted structure of the Upper Gallery. The composition is characterized by the equal distribution of the ramp and the Upper Gallery about the entrance lobby space axis—a bisecting line formed by an axial relationship of the auditorium to the tower lobby. The symmetrical organization of the plan is an asymmetrical composition in the third dimension, with the Upper Gallery forming a solid element juxtaposed with the openness of the ramp. Circulation is downward to the first (upper) gallery which occurs on an intermediate level. Circulation by the ramp allows the patron to move both vertically and horizontally through the space. There are views to the interior of the museum as well as views of the cityscape. After the first (upper) gallery level, the ramp continues to the lower level where the largest galleries and loading dock facilities are located. Portions of the space are the full four-story height allowing the display of very large sculpture pieces.





Project Information

project: an art museum at the Georgia-Pacific Center in downtown Atlanta which operates as a satellite to the High Museum of Art
client: GA-MET—a joint venture of Georgia-Pacific Corporation and The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
location: Atlanta, Georgia
completion date: February 1986
building area: 12,000 square feet
construction cost: $2 million


  • 1988 National AIA Honor Award of Excellence
  • 1987 South Atlantic Region AIA Honor Award
  • 1987 Urban Design Commission Award of Excellence
  • 1986 Gallery and Museum Association of Georgia, Outstanding Museum Award
  • 1986 Georgia Business Council for the Arts Award