A pleasurably walkable oasis in a desert of traffic-laden retail districts, Buckhead boasts a nine-acre streetscape design that uses mature trees and diverse plantings to infuse Buckhead’s streets with energy and vibrancy.
The city of Atlanta has expanded exponentially over the last few decades, with development extending further and further outside of city limits as its population surges. The resulting growth has prioritized cars over humans, accommodating the automobile, but not the pedestrian.
As a result of its suburban growth pattern, Atlanta’s retail districts are often car-focused and do little to create an enjoyable pedestrian experience. The developer at Buckhead, Oliver McMillan, took issue with this, believing that a luxurious shopping experience was only appropriate in a luxury brand district. Luxurious, by definition, means leisurely, slow, at one’s own pace. In short, an experience that is antithetical to the fast-paced, destination-based mentality of car.
Hoerr Schaudt was engaged by the developer to create a more tailored urban environment and lead the design of the streetscape for the entire district. The goal was to make the landscape distinctive and welcoming, with mature trees to give shade, beautiful plantings that celebrate the seasons, and quality materials that identify Buckhead as a special place.
The scale of the mature trees – limbed high to allow for visibility to retail signage and identity – help people walking along the sidewalk to feel more secure and welcome. While the trees along the streets are magnificent in size, the landscape shifts as pedestrians enter the paseo in order to create a sense of intimacy. As its visitors pass from one area to another, Buckhead’s materials, scale, and lighting are all carefully adjusted to make for a more impactful experience. Beneath the trees, lush plantings act more like miniature gardens in their complexity and design. Diversity in street materials and planting styles infuse the street level with an energy and vibrancy that are typical of a thriving urban environment.