Atlanta Botanical Garden - Renovations & Addition
Best Project

Owner: Atlanta Botanical Garden
Lead Design Firm: Perkins + Will
General Contractor: New South Construction Co.
Civil Engineer: Long Engineering Inc.
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
MEP Engineer: Newcomb & Boyd

The newly expanded and renovated two-level Longleaf Café and Garden House was designed to seamlessly blend with the surrounding gardens, a feature that also constrained the contractor’s ability to access the site and make the contemporary glass structure a reality.

Challenges began literally at the project’s front door, with a narrow 0.17-mile access road that was also used for routine deliveries and a concurrent project being completed by another contractor. Proactive communication and daily coordination among all users kept conflicts to a minimum.

New South also had to react quickly to a previously undisclosed requirement for the restaurant to maintain its regular operating hours. By rearranging and resynchronizing the project implementation sequence, New South was able to suspend construction during prime lunch hours each day, allowing patrons to enjoy their meals without compromising a schedule already complicated by numerous weather delays and the garden’s busy slate of events and exhibitions.

Additional surprises emerged as the project progressed, including inaccurate as-builts that showed kitchen footings to be 8 ft higher in elevation than anticipated. A quickly designed soil-nail system and hydraulic jacks stabilized the structure until new foundations could be poured and backfilled.

The original plan to use traditional gypsum ceiling tiles in the restaurant was revised to accommodate perforated acoustical panels. While creating a more pleasant dining environment, the panels added new installation challenges, such as aligning the perforations and carefully conforming their shape with light fixtures and sprinkler heads.

Some design changes proved beneficial to the project’s cost and schedule. Instead of a precast chimney cap, which would have required a 130-ton crane and jib to install, New South suggested and designed a less costly fabricated metal cap that blends well with other exterior features.

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