Changing Scenery

For years, many Atlantans took for granted the perfectly centered view of the downtown skyline that could be seen while facing south on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, between Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church and Lindbergh Drive. But with that view now obstructed by recent construction, attention is finally being paid to the city’s viewshed.  “Views are important, because they help you to recognize that there is a larger city out there that you can be a part of,” says architect and historian Jonathan LaCrosse. “This is a wake-up call that these views need to be protected.” LaCrosse cites Atlanta’s winding roads and somewhat disjointed layout as making views particularly vulnerable. “If that stretch of Peachtree was straight, the downtown view could not have been violated. But because most of our roads do curve, perhaps it’s more important to think about how to protect views.” The other factor is rampant development. “In trying to urbanize Buckhead, developers are thinking about density, but they’re not always being kind to pedestrians and other buildings.” If developers and architects were to consider the larger urban picture, LaCrosse believes that architecture and the landscape could be better woven together, fostering a connectivity with the surrounding city environment.