Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building Rehabilitation

Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building Rehabilitation

Atlanta, GA

Constructed in 1933 as the main U.S. Post Office for Atlanta, the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building in downtown Atlanta now houses the Southeastern headquarters for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The building carries the cultural distinction of being the first named in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Planning for the rehabilitation began with a thorough programming effort to identify the current and future needs of the GSA Divisions slated to move into the building. This effort focused on the lower three floors of the 370,000 square foot building and included development of conceptual layouts for these areas. In addition to functional programming, all major building components were assessed and life safety, hazardous materials and sustainability issues were evaluated.

Through this programming and planning process, the historic building’s important character-defining features were identified and features such as the intact postal lobbies, soaring volumes of the mail sorting areas, and expansive steel windows became elements that shaped the rehabilitation design.

The resulting project is a fusion of rehabilitation, restoration and sustainable design. The building’s exterior was restored, including the painstaking repair of the marble and granite façade that was failing as a result of corroding steel angles supporting the stone. The interior was rehabilitated to meet the GSA’s needs, retaining and restoring historic materials while adding contemporary elements inspired by the building’s history, including images of historic postage stamps used throughout as artwork and to inform the overall color pallet for the interiors. The building’s namesake is also honored with a large back-lit photograph that serves as a focal point of the restored main lobby and is visible to passers-by through the monumental front doors. The result is a vibrant blend of old and new that provides a functional and stimulating environment for all who work there. 

Sustainable design features of the LEED Gold project include high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems, low flow plumbing fixtures, landscaping with native plants, incorporation of daylighting strategies and commuter friendly elements such as bicycle racks and changing facilities.


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