- Company: Astra Group Inc.
- Industry: General Building
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Expected Completion Date: January 16, 2015
- Project Website
After opening a new parking deck on the south side of Capitol Hill in downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Building Authority decided to use the space that housed the 60 year old parking deck, located directly across the street from the Capitol, to construct a three acre public plaza as a gathering place for rallies and public ceremonies. Astra Group built Liberty Plaza on the site of the old parking deck, creating a park and gathering space that incorporates Georgia’s history while meeting a need of the public.
What impact does this project have on America?
The Georgia State Capitol opened in 1889 without a large outdoor public assembly area. Over the years, the streets and sidewalks near the Capitol have hosted countless rallies, protests, ceremonies, school children, and other visitors. Each year, more than 100 events were held on the front steps of the Capitol. Whenever more than 300 visitors attended, it required lane and street closures that adversely affected local traffic and pedestrian safety. This plaza allows citizens a safe area to hold demonstrations and rallies, local workers a park where they can relax, and makes the area safer overall.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
Since 1910, several plans were made for a civic center park next to the State Capitol but they were all focused on the east side (on the site of two historic churches) and they never could generate enough political or public support. Liberty Plaza was dedicated on January 16, 2015 – 105 years and 27 Governors after a civic area next to the State Capitol was first proposed. Once the project was approved, the timeline for construction was very tight, as the governor’s office wanted to use the space for the governor’s inauguration in January. Demolition of the old parking deck began in June of 2014 and the park was open in time for the inauguration, though rain forced the ceremony inside.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
Georgia’s Capitol is located in an extremely congested area of town. Both pedestrian and automobile traffic is heavy at all times of the day. Traffic control was a significant safety issue for workers and pedestrians in the area. Astra used traffic control specialists to ensure full time traffic monitoring and control as well as to limit potential hazards.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
The project utilized a recycle and reuse strategy. All the steel from the former parking structure was used and the concrete was crushed and reused as backfill material. In addition, locally harvested Georgia granite and native plants were used in the landscaping. To further tie the new plaza to the state’s history, GBA relocated replicas of the Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty from other areas of the Capitol Grounds to the plaza.
The project focused on sustainability and accessibility for citizens of Georgia by creating an area that solved traffic problems, reused space effectively and gave citizens better access to their Capitol.