Case Studies in New Classical & Traditional Design: Incremental Development and Intentional Design: Lessons from Senoia, Georgia
with Historical Concepts
The Case Studies seminar series explores the design and execution of new work from the practitioner’s perspective. Contemporary classical and traditional design encompasses architectural work for all building types, at all scales and budgets, and in the allied fields of urban planning, landscape, interiors and the artisan and building trades. The series aims to explore solutions to contemporary design challenges, foster critical discussion of recent work, and demystify the complexities of how unique projects come together.
Small town America, while a source of nostalgia and pride for many, often is forgotten in today’s world of fresh greenfield developments and expanding urban centers. Senoia, Georgia was no different than most agrarian-based towns fifteen years ago – a pass-through place with only a few lights burning on Main Street. But it had residents with pride, and when a strip center was proposed at the end of Main Street, it was met with opposition, which then spawned passion to decide what the town vision should be.
Leadership called on Historical Concepts, an architecture and planning firm, located just a few miles away, who started by creating design guidelines to enhance Main Street’s architecture and streetscapes. In the years following, the firm has designed Main Street commercial, mixed-use, and residential buildings. As Senoia’s revival took hold, Historical Concepts created a residential pattern book, master planned a neighborhood (an extension of Main Street--where the strip center had been proposed) and has designed two highly successful Southern Living Idea Houses.
In this session of the Case Studies series, Andrew Cogar, Ryan Yurcaba, and Clay Rokicki of Historical Concepts lead an in-depth discussion on the rebuilding of a small town through architectural and planning projects that leverage public and private funding, benefiting the greater good. They talk about how incremental projects can lead to the revival of commercial activity on Main Street, and how that can lead to a new chapter for the town with mixed-use office space and residential units. The presenters share regional design influences and how details and materials were incorporated into new structures to intentionally continue the heritage of Senoia’s built environment.
What You Will Learn
- How incremental development, coupled with community programming, can help revive a town’s economic vitality and strengthen its sense of place
- How a unified building plan created in dialogue with local residents--the utilization of strong regional design influences, and the current construction of a dedicated civic space--can improve residents’ mental welfare by encouraging social interaction, enhancing local character, and increasing pride of place
- How the Senoia, Georgia revitalization project has benefited residents' welfare by creating a greater diversity of housing as well as a new affordable housing model created in partnership with Habitat for Humanity
- Important principles and steps to take in improving residents’ physical safety as well as physical and mental comfort as part of development projects; for example, in the case study of Senoia, Georgia, through changes to Main Street’s sidewalk safety; clearer delineation between pedestrian and vehicular spaces; and landscape improvements.