The Contest

Saving The Clermont Hotel

ByGene Kansas

FeaturingGamble + Gamble Architects

Clermont Hotel


789 Ponce De Leon Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30306

ASSIGNMENT: Seller Representation

In creating The Clermont Hotel Design Competition, we mashed up marketing creativity with a grass-roots movement that spanned across a multitude of communities to save one of Atlanta’s most iconic cultural assets. Over 600 applications were downloaded in what became a national news story. In a beer laden reveal at The Clermont Lounge, Gamble + Gamble Architects came out victorious with their Heaven and Hell dichotomy featuring the Lounge in the basement and a wedding chapel on the roof.

Saving The Clermont would lead to a redevelopment revolution on Ponce de Leon, and resulted in Gamble + Gamble becoming the architect of record for the eventual redesign, a testament to the firm’s abilities, a pretty cool idea, and to will of a community.

We chatted with winning firm founders Michael and Lee Ann Gamble to talk preservation, and a contest of perseverance.


Q: So come clean, did you all just get bored around the office and enter the competition?

G+G: We always have a competition going in the office - keeps us on our toes, and you never know!

Q: Did you foresee it leading to a job of this magnitude?

G+G: Yes, we were hopeful, though the press that came out of the competition was equally important - we thought that the building was doomed at that point.

Q: How does creative thinking catalyze the redevelopment of a property and the community at large?

G+G: Problem solving and creative thinking can be mutually exclusive in relation to the built environment. Just because you’ve solved the problem doesn’t necessarily mean it’s humane or beautiful - function is always going to be a key part of the problem, but creative thinking brings to bear other things like desire. Atlanta has finally gotten over it’s complete preoccupation with the car, and we are seeing a lot of fresh thinking based on what makes a great city - a place where needs and desires are met with equally creative rigor.

Q: What can we expect to see when The Clermont reopens, and did Blondie factor into your primary research?

G+G: The Clermont is part of a wonderful rehabilitation of an entire corridor - so we see it being one of several “living rooms” that will contribute on a daily basis to the life of the neighborhood. Blondie and the Lounge are synonymous, and the popular vote says they will both remain in the picture (with the lights down low).

LISTEN TO "THE CLERMONT HOTEL" EPISODE FEATURING MICHAEL GAMBLE

Keywords | Clermont Hotel, Clermont Lounge, Blondie, Ponce de Leon, Gamble and Gamble, Design Competition, Seller Representation
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