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Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal

Lead DesignersJohn Schuyler
ClientJohn Schuyler
Prize(s)Gold in Architecture Categories / Urban Design
Entry Description

Since Atlanta’s founding at the intersection of two railroads,
its growth has been tied to transportation. Today, despite
having over 80 local and regional bus routes and 4 subway
lines, there is no downtown hub or transfer point.
Passengers wait on desolate sidewalks and trudge through
the heat and humidity to make connections. Regional rail
hasn't served downtown since the 1960s. A vast area of
Atlanta’s downtown is today an open pit of parking crossed
by a few elevated roadways. Known locally as “The Gulch”,
this physical and psychological barrier isolates otherwise
adjacent neighborhoods and hinders development.

The Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal Master Plan
weaves together three essential threads of city-building -
transit infrastructure, the public realm, and private
development - to create a deeply integrated nexus of urban
connections and a catalyst for growth. The project
incorporates existing bus networks with planned commuter
rail, high-speed rail, and streetcar networks, while knitting
together cut-off neighborhoods, disjointed street grids, and
disconnected open spaces, to create development
opportunities in a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly

Main functions are stacked vertically: trains below; streets,
plazas, and retail above this; buses above the street; and a
rooftop park over the buses. Porous and connective, the
many entrances lead to a light-filled “great room” and a
double-height skylit spine, providing clear, legible
circulation. Street-facing retail energizes sidewalks, while
above, an undulating, diaphanous skin surrounds the bus
level, offering dynamic glimpses of bus movements, and
allowing natural ventilation. The innovative elevated park
uses transit infrastructure’s inherent scale to connect
existing parks and create a dramatic new destination.
Surrounding open spaces and sites for hotel, office, and
residential developments integrate growth and infill
throughout the 126-acre study area.

The plan recognizes the importance of transit investments
to an environmentally and economically sustainable future,
and moves beyond Transit Oriented Development