The Woodruff Arts Center: A Juxtaposition of Architecture and Community

Woodruff Arts Center, Midtown, Atlanta

The Woodruff Arts Center is located in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia. The center was built in 1968 by award winning architect Richard Meier. Robert Woodruff, who was a main benefactor for the site, intended to pay homage to the art and civic leaders of Atlanta and provide programs for youth and their families. Although the center was built with the intention of building community it does appear to exclude the lower class and homeless.

The site features a series of contradictions that are hidden subliminally in its design. The design of the center is modern, bright, open and inviting, however something is also intimidating and exclusive about the way the building is structured. For instance, the dramatic geometric shapes of the building make the entrance appear shrouded and the exterior does not reveal much about its artful interior. The building is monochromatic with large windows that do not reveal any content from the outside. The center is accessible through public transit from the Art Center MARTA station, which allows outsiders for less wealthy communities to pass through. However, the center only caters to the upper and middle class communities of Atlanta and young art visionaries such as college and high school students. The benches located around the site are all divided in a way to prevent the homeless from laying down. The trashcans also have locks to prevent homeless people from digging for food and other items.

The center has a digital space for their advertisement that catches the attention of pedestrians with visuals and graphics. A digital display advertises upcoming events, programs for youth, as well as sponsorship from other Atlanta based corporations. The incorporation of a digital space existing in the exterior gives the center a modern appearance.

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