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LOCATION: Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA

SIZE:           4,430 SF

STATUS:      Completed 2019

Originally built in 1899, the Brown Hayes Department Store building has been a landmark in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood for over a century. In 2018, Kronberg Urbanists + Architects were engaged by local music startup, Spinrilla, to renovate the historic building which had stood empty for several years after its last occupant, a nightclub, had shut its doors. Now home to Spinrilla’s new offices, the Brown Hayes building has received a much-needed facelift and a litany of critical repairs aimed to ensure a long future for the building.

The building owners and design team went to great lengths to see through the preservation of the historic structure. The design approach to the building’s exterior was largely focused on maintaining the structure’s original appearance: wood-framed windows and storefront on the ground floor were repaired and repainted; all the windows on the second floor were replaced with new matching units with modern, thermally efficient glazing; and new light fixtures were installed. Perhaps most noticeably, Atlanta signpainter Chris Wright was hired to study and repaint the building’s original hand-painted signage on the Boulevard and Edgewood-facing facades. Finally, the new rooftop deck, designed to minimize visual appearance from the street, was installed, offering unique views of the Downtown Atlanta skyline.

Although small in footprint, this project was a complex exercise in the practice of restoring a historic structure and ensuring its longevity. Edgewood Avenue, like many prominent streets in Atlanta, is witnessing dramatic change as new structures are built. Extending the life of historic buildings like the Brown Hayes Department store preserves a critical physical connection to Atlanta history and contributes vital variety and character to our neighborhoods.

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