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Verdant Goes Vertical – YOO on the Park

Hannah Hanlon

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One of Atlanta’s many nicknames is aptly, “The City in a Forest.” Look around the metro and it’s evident – especially when considering the city’s grand centerpiece park, Piedmont Park. Created in 1895, these 195 acres knit together bustling Midtown with points north and consist of greenspace ringed with residential enclaves, business districts and, more recently, high-rise residential towers flaunting scenic views. One of which, we can attest, has a bit of a natural edge itself, built right in.

YOO on the Park is one of Corcoran Ota’s crown jewel projects – a favorite that we love to show off, especially one particular view of the 24-story high-rise: it’s northern one, conspicuously covered in living, green vertical carpet.

“It’s a pretty spectacular building, by any right,” notes Michael Corcoran, “but that green wall gives it an extra bit of pizzazz...and it’s not just beautiful. It’s functional,” he adds. YOO’s owner insisted on the flora, but COG quickly found utility in its beauty as well. A ground-floor parking structure anchors the building, hosting residents’ vehicles, the property’s leasing office and a small sundry shoppe. Connectedly, the lot – one acre shoehorned into Midtown Atlanta’s packed grid – created a tight fit, and a need to hide as many mechanical elements as possible. Here, mother nature provided. COG carpeted car-centric space with a variety of plants hand-picked by landscape architecture legend Bob Hughes of HGOR. The result is the largest green wall in the entire southeast – a mirror of Piedmont’s iconic greenspace, just blocks away.

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The wall is vertically irrigated, grows naturally year-round, and…is north-facing. If you’re a gardener, you know what a challenge that is. “We worked with an expert to choose species that could survive northern exposure,” says lead architect on the project, Dean Ota. “It was a bit of trial and error, but ultimately so worth it for the overall effect.”

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You’ll want to check out our full case study on YOO on the Park to learn more about its sleek, European-style interiors, quirky but masterful use of space, and hospitality-like amenities. This project is a feast for the eyes from all angles, and was a feast for our imaginations and souls as we completed the work.

“We’d like to do more high rises; they’re extremely fun,” says Ota. “More aesthetic possibilities, more freedom from a budget and design standpoint. It’s an opportunity for us to do something that’s not just quantitative – a formula – but qualitative. Lovely. Beautiful.”