The form of the Hurt Building, constructed from 1913 to 1926, was
dictated by its irregularly shaped site and is one of Atlanta's numerous
triangular-shaped buildings. Said to be the 17th-largest office building
in the world at the time of its construction, it is a good Atlanta
example of the skyscraper form that was developed by Louis Sullivan
and the Chicago School. The main shaft of the building was erected
in 1913 and the building was finished, with the exception of the decoration
of the rotunda entrance, early in October of that year. The Atlanta
Constitution reported on September 28, that the new Hurt Building
would open its doors about October 1, 1913. World War I delayed the
construction of the wings and light court of the building until 1924,
with the final portion of the building being completed during 1926.
Hurt Building was built to fit
the available plot of land
NPS photograph by Jody Cook
The Hurt Building stands 17 floors in height, and is composed
of straight fronts, a flat roof, level skyline, subordination of
ornament, a regular pattern of fenestration, and cornices of moderate
projection. The four lower floors, which constitute the base of
the building, were made to cover the entire allowable building site
with the exception of the apex of the building--facing the main
business section at Five Points--which was cut back 30 feet to allow
a greater window area and a more majestic view of the building.
The 13 floors above this base follows a V-shape arrangement: the
two wings extend from the western apex of the property along both
Exchange Place and Edgewood Avenue leaving an open light court between
the wings opening toward Ivy Street. If any ornamental elements
could be singled-out in the Hurt Building they are those of classical
derivation. For, in addition to the classical details found in the
rotunda, pilasters are also found which separate the windows of
the ground floor, and a balustrade, located on top of the rotunda,
is extended as an entablature down the sides of the building to
mark the base. The rotunda consists of a moderate dome set on marble
columns and, situated at the western apex of the building's triangular
site, acts as the entrance level extending through the building
to Ivy Street on the east.
Historic postcards of the Hurt
Courtesy of Jody Cook
The Hurt Building also reflects the ideas and concepts of its builder,
Joel Hurt (1850-1926). Hurt, an Atlanta engineer and builder, was
a motivating force in many new developments in Atlanta. He was known
to have made preliminary drawings for several years before he hired
J.E.R. Carpenter, a prominent New York architect, well experienced
in the design of high-rise buildings, to draw up the final plans for
the Hurt Building. Hurt's training as an engineer helped in the final
design of the building, as he strove to keep the "frills" of design
down to a minimum and sought to create a more "efficient" and direct
approach to design for the sake of clarity and unity. While the building
is more ornamental than other streamlined buildings of the modernism
school, the unity between structure and design is maintained, and
it holds up well against more recent postmodern designs in architecture.
It remains one of the most highly visible and architecturally important
examples of early skyscraper construction in Atlanta.
The Hurt Building is at 50 Hurt Plaza, in downtown Atlanta.
It is an office building, and is not open to the public.