In 1885, Home Insurance Building in Chicago, Illinois captured nationwide attention of architects and engineers as the world’s first skyscraper. Use of a revolutionary steel frame by Chicago architect and engineer William Le Baron Jenney allowed for greater building height and stability without the weight of traditional masonry construction. Featuring steel construction, Equitable Building by local architect John Wellborn Root became the first skyscraper in Atlanta upon completion in 1892. With the 1974 demolition of the Equitable Building, Flatiron Building by New York architect Bradford Gilbert (c. 1897) ranks as oldest skyscraper in the city.
Since these early days, architecturally significant skyscrapers from local to national firms have boosted the city’s skyline. Regency Hyatt House, designed by Atlanta architect John Portman, represents the pioneering design of a hotel centered with an atrium upon its 1967 opening. Bank of America Plaza, by Connecticut-based Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates as a modern interpretation of classical high-rises in New York City, soars near the border of Downtown and Midtown at a 55-story height as the city’s tallest skyscraper.
Seven88 marks another architectural milestone in Atlanta. Headed by architects Chris Goode, AIA and Paul Van Slyke, AIA, local architectural firm Goode Van Slyke Architecture (GVSA) has designed educational, multi-family, office, and sports projects, such as Mary Lin Elementary School Addition and Renovation, Atlanta Gas Light Business Resource Centers, and the Atlanta Falcons corporate offices and event areas at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Nearly 130 years after the completion of the first skyscraper in Atlanta, GVSA’s Seven88 West Midtown makes history as the first commercial skyscraper in the city by a Black-owned architectural firm.
Seven88 expresses respect for the Westside and Atlanta’s skyline. The skyscraper base, built to the perimeter of the site, is cladded with brick responding to the veneer on nearby industrial warehouses and the King Plow Center. This geometric condominium tower with glassed balconies and unobstructed city views caps the masonry base with the streamlined design of modern skyscrapers. Two outdoor amenity decks with a saltwater pool and whirlpool pool spa, yoga lawn, and dog spa offer contemporary, resort-style relaxation for condo owners and visitors.
Success with Seven88 has helped GVSA to earn a new mixed-use project in Alpharetta called The Bailey, yet the firm is grounded in humility. Employees are volunteering to perform 25 good deeds this year in celebration of the firm’s 25th anniversary. Affordable housing projects, including the Bethel Towers renovations, remain an important sector for GVSA in recognition of affordability as an important civic issue in Atlanta. Goode notes, “We see ourselves as a firm committed more than ever to serving our clients and communities with good design and good deeds.”
Melody L. Harclerode, FAIA enjoys connecting the public to wondrous places as an award-winning architect, author, and Executive Director of Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta.