A rendering of the Eco Living Room at the Midtown MARTA station.
A rendering of the Eco Living Room at the Midtown MARTA station.

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.

The students’ concept serves as a model for sustainable public spaces that contribute to advancing Midtown as an urban, innovative and resource-efficient EcoDistrict.

The 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.

The students concentrated their conceptual design around the Midtown MARTA Station, and 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.

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.

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 and Yue Zhao.

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