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Georgia Tech Students Envision “Eco Living Room” Model for Midtown’s Open Spaces

Midtown Alliance and Georgia Tech charged a team of architecture students to explore the possibilities of sustainable design for a publicly accessible gathering space in Midtown. The outcome? A unique prototype for an “eco living room” at the Midtown MARTA station. Guided by the principles of Midtown Alliance’s community-driven Greenprint plan, their concept serves as a model for sustainable public spaces that contribute to advancing Midtown as an urban, innovative, and resource-efficient EcoDistrict. 

Project Among First Developed At GT’s Architecture Incubator

This project served as one of Georgia Tech’s first Architecture Incubator Workshops, a new series of courses intended to test new ideas and explore interdisciplinary, collaborative forms of design and research.

Solar Power Source, Wind “Veil” and More Furnish “Living Room”

The students concentrated their conceptual design around the Midtown MARTA Station, a connectivity hub for rail lines, local and regional buses, and the Tech Trolley. The group brainstormed ways to improve the experience for riders by transforming the station’s walkway and waiting zone into a gathering space. Among recommended enhancements, the team proposed adding a lawn area, seating and walls made from recycled sidewalk concrete, and solar panels as a power source for station lighting.

Other imaginative, tech-driven design components could include LCD signage with real-time transit information and a wind-powered “veil”—a shade structure  that emulates a turbine. With the combination of sunlight and wind, the veil’s panels cast a pattern of shadows that “dance” along the sidewalk when air flows.

Scroll on to view renderings of proposed elements

The students designed a gabion wall, which would be made from recycled concrete and serve as seating. The concrete structure would also be fit for informational signage and a real-time transit kiosk.

In addition to the design, the students went to a manufacturing shop to fabricate a prototype for the "wind veil," pictured above and below.


While the eco living room concept is preliminary, it highlights the possibilities of sustainable design in urban environments. Midtown Alliance will seek opportunities to incorporate some of the ideas into a broader set of enhancements for public spaces throughout the District.

This unique project allowed us to tap into the creative energy of Atlanta’s next generation of architects and innovators. The project was taught by Russell Gentry, W. Jude LeBlanc, Scott Marble and Jacob Tompkins, and participating students included Ran An, Eric Goldstein, Zitong Ma, Yifeng Sun, David Varner, Yue Zhao.

Tags: Midtown Alliance, Innovation, EcoDistrict, Urban Design, Sustainability, Creativity, Georgia Tech

Posted: July 5, 2016

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