Announcements 11.03.2021

Atlanta Dairies Recognized for Design Excellence by ASLA

Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe.
Atlanta Dairies
Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Dairies, the catalyst of the rebirth of Atlanta’s diverse and historic Memorial Drive corridor, has received one of the most prestigious awards in landscape architecture—the Honor Award in General Design from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The annual ASLA Professional Awards program acknowledges exceptional projects that define and move the profession of landscape architecture forward.

Meet the team behind Atlanta Dairies' landscape design.
Original elements such as catwalks, loading docks, and concrete structures were carefully restored and integrated into the new development.

The story of Atlanta Dairies is one of rebirth: the rebirth of a derelict industrial brownfield, the rebirth of an underserved historic neighborhood corridor in Southeast Atlanta, and the rebirth of forward-thinking sustainable development.

Located in southeast Atlanta, Georgia, along the city’s historic Memorial Drive corridor, the 6-acre former Parmalat dairy production facility lay in ruins—overgrown, dilapidated, and recently tornado-ravaged. Believing in the hidden potential within the site, the landscape architecture team was charged by the client, Paces Properties, to approach design, “like a green bomb had been dropped on the site,” thus giving the neighborhood, “an oasis from the concrete jungle.”

“As both a brownfield site and a historic one, the Atlanta Dairies project faced numerous challenges logistically and physically; it had also been struck by a tornado. Yet despite these complications, the end result—a lush, terraced landscape that converts a loading yard into a community gathering center—fulfills the stated mission of creating an urban oasis out of a dilapidated post-industrial ruin.”

– 2021 Awards Jury 

Perpendicular to the flow, the terraced slope’s retaining walls filter and dissipate the stormwater.
The client’s vision for the 10-acre property was to create a new cultural and entertainment destination to the area, while preserving the best qualities of site’s industrial character.

The idea of remediating a barren wasteland with a lush intervention is hardly novel, but the design team was charged with implementing only plant material native to the Piedmont Region of the Southeast, further enriching the design by adding a didactic layer to the story.

Across the site, trees and understory plantings that would have historically occupied this site were carefully arranged to feel organic and natural, without appearing haphazard. In total, nearly 60% of the loading yard become densely vegetated, with additional expanses composed of slate chips over loose gravel. 

“There are moments where I step back and say ‘I can’t believe this is the place we created,’” David Cochran, President and CEO of Paces Properties, expressed when describing the neighborhood impact and transformation of Atlanta Dairies.

Once initial concept drawings for Atlanta Dairies were made public and preliminary site work began, an immediate flood of capital and resources made their way up and down Memorial Drive over the subsequent five years, resulting in nearly 1.3 million square feet of new development and over 1,200 multifamily units coming online.

With a blend of contrasting industrial forms and organic plantings, Atlanta Dairies has become a neighborhood destination and a model for adaptive landscapes in the city.

See the project award featured in the October 2021 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.