Review: Spruill’s “Site Unseen” reveals architects’ creative process

ArtsAtl, Jun 24, 2011

By Catherine Fox


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Spruill Gallery‘s “Site Unseen” is, on one level, about what might have been. Plans, models and renderings detail stillborn architectural projects for Spruill, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and residential clients. Also on view are entries in competitions that others won or, in the case of Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s concept for One Museum Place, for a project that will never be. (The project’s empty lot and unsightly fence just across from the High Museum of Art is an anti-monument to the cratered economy.)

Yet these unbuilt projects by nine Atlanta architectural firms are very much alive – with ideas, creativity and insight into the architectural process. The exhibit reveals the considerable effort devoted to research and development. Particularly evident is the careful consideration of the relationship of a building to its site and the varied ways architects approach such issues as topography, trees and the behavior of sunlight. It’s almost always an iterative process of experiment and refinement, evolving from sketches and computer simulations to three-dimensional massing studies and models.