Designated: Landmark Building Exterior
35 Broad Street
The Empire Building, now the Citizens and Southern National Bank Building, is bounded by Broad Street, Marietta Street and Walton Street in the Fairlie-Poplar District of Atlanta's Central Business District. The Citizens and Southern Bank Building, built in 1901 and renovated in 1929, is significant as a work of two leading Atlanta firms: Morgan and Dillon (1901) and Hentz, Adler and Shutze (1929). The original Chicago commercial style blended with the Italian Renaissance renovation make this one of the finest early skyscrapers remaining in Atlanta today.
The building is also significant as one of the first steel-framed skyscrapers built at the turn of the century. It represents the technological developments necessary to build and need buildings in the city's center. The most significant technological step was the steel- framed structure developed in Chicago in the mid 1880s and introduced to Atlanta in the 1890s. Exterior walls were reduced to a thin envelope supported throughout by interior framing which allowed greater heights more readily. This building was the second Morgan and Dillon skyscraper to show influence of the architects' study trip to Chicago in the late 1890s.
HISTORY AND SETTING
The Citizens and Southern Bank building was believed to be completed in 1901 after several years of construction. The construction techniques conform with those in use in 1898, and coping on the roof contains two signatures, believed to have been two of the finishing craftsmen, with the date 1901. (It was traditional around the turn of the century for the craftsmen to sign and date their work.)
For several years early in its history, the building was known as the Empire Building, and this is most likely the first name. Reminders of the name can be found in the building today in the form of oversized brass doorknobs inscribed with an ornate letter "E". In earlier notes, the doorknobs were described as big as softballs. There are several theories about the derivation of the name the Empire building, but the most commonly accepted is the requirement by insurance companies at the time to have buildings on which they carried mortgages to have the building bear their name.
In late 1919 or early 1920, the building was renamed the Atlanta Trust Company Building in honor of its new occupant, who also effected some structural changes on the building's exterior. Pictorial evidence shows that one change was the removal of an original arched door and the closing off of an entrance at the extreme southern end of the Marietta Street fronting in favor of a less ornate entrance in the center of the wall.
That same year the Citizens and Southern Bank, founded in Savannah in 1887, merged with the Third National Bank in Atlanta to open operations in Atlanta. Since 1907, Third National Bank had occupied the building directly across Marietta Street from Atlanta Trust Company Building, which is now known as Atlanta Federal Savings and Loan Building. When C&S acquired the Third National, the location was maintained and that building renamed the Citizens and Southern National Bank Building. Two years later in 1929, the Atlanta Trust Company and its building were acquired by Citizens and Southern.
At this time, Atlanta Trust Company Building was the second largest office building in the city, so Citizens and Southern decided to move its headquarters into it. The architectural firm of Hentz, Adler and Shutze was retained to plan the renovation, with Philip Shutze taking the lead. Plans were begun in 1929 for the renovation of the Empire/C&S Building in a style that would, as management anticipated, convey the solidarity of the organization it was to house. On January 19, 1932, the Citizens and Southern National Bank moved into its new home where it continues to serve as the bank's main office.
Nevertheless, this will change shortly with the construction (in progress as of 10/91) of a new office/banking tower by Citizens and Southern/Sovran at the corner of North Avenue and Peachtree Street. The move reflects other changes occurring in the Five Points area, the city's main and long-time banking-legal-shopping district. A number of major concerns have left the immediate Five Points area in recent years, including the law firms of King and Spalding; and Powell, Goldstein, Frazer, Murphy. They are being joined at the One Ninety One Peachtree Building by First Atlanta (now Wachovia Bank of Georgia, N. A.) Also, Rich's Department Store recently closed its large downtown store near Five Points.
Architect Thomas Henry Morgan traveled to Chicago and New York to study the new high-rise buildings that had been constructed in those cities. His design for the fourteen-story Empire Building of 1901 followed the design principles and construction techniques that were employed to produce the first "Commercial Style" or "Chicago Style" skyscrapers. The facade was organized into three parts: base, shaft and cornice. Steel-frame construction allowed for large areas of glass between the brick spandrels.
The three-story base consisted of slender piers in-filled with glass storefronts on the street level and triple windows on the second floor. The remaining floors featured narrow, paired windows with the exception of the three central bays of the Marietta Street facade which featured large single windows.
The cornice above the fourteenth floor windows was less ornate than cornices on Morgan's other buildings (notably the Healey Building of 1913). A restrained use of terra-cotta ornamentation on the structure resulted in the utilitarian appearance of the facades.
Citizens and Southern National Bank purchased the Empire Building for their new headquarters in 1929. Given the financial insecurity of the times it is easy to understand why the bank wished to display an image of stability and permanence. It was this same desire that motivated America's founding fathers to promote plans exhibiting classical design elements, preferably Roman, for early government buildings.
The choice of Philip Trammell Shutze, lauded in his later years as the dean of American classicist designers, to renovate and expand the structure was providential. Shutze not only created the image his clients desired, he created an architectural masterpiece.
The length of the building which runs along Broad Street remained 204 feet; the width was expanded from 55 feet to 80 feet. Shutze retained the commercial style upper floors and cornice, and copied their design for the expanded office building. Shutze did not feel, however, that the commercial glass fronts of the base reflected the image the bank desired to establish. The base was stripped back to the steel frame and totally redesigned.
Dr. Elizabeth Dowling in her book American Classicist: The Architecture of Philip Trammell Shutze states, "The great challenge of the classicist designer is to extend his tradition by adapting it to new uses." For the exterior of the Citizens and Southern Bank, Shutze adapted designs by the sixteenth century mannerist architect, Michele Sanmicheli (1484-1559) to the skyscraper form.
Sanmicheli created city gates and fortifications that were particularly notable. These designs provided inspiration for the design of the strong, seemingly impregnable base of the bank building. The Indiana limestone applied to the base is only six inches deep, however, Shutze created the illusion of load-bearing walls by employing deeply chamfered quoins at the building corners and around the windows and by inserting blank niches into the wall surface.
Design motifs such as the wave pattern molding on the Broad Street elevation and the scallop shell with ribbons and acanthus leaves over the non-pedimented first floor windows also can be attributed to the works of Sanmicheli. The eagle with globe surmounting the Broad Street entrance is reportedly a stone replica of a cast bronze eagle, the national emblem, which is found in different forms throughout the bank.
Philip Shutze was born on the 18th of August 1890, in Columbus, Georgia. In 1908 he graduated as valedictorian from a public school, and won a scholarship to attend Georgia Tech. The school of architecture had just opened in 1908, which was Philip Shutze's intended area of study. Throughout his years at Georgia Tech, Shutze supported himself by working for the architectural firm of Hentz and Reid.
In 1912, Shutze graduated with honors from Georgia Tech. In 1913 he earned a second Bachelor of Architecture degree from Columbia University. He returned to Atlanta to work once again for Hentz and Reid and to serve as an instructor in the Georgia Tech Architecture Department.
In 1915, Shutze won the prestigious Rome prize, an honor worth $3,000 for three years of study and travel in Italy. Shutze sailed for Europe the fall of 1915 for the most formative period of his life, five years of study, travel and war service that would shape his great talent into one of the finest American classicists of the twentieth century. He immersed himself in learning everything he could about the great buildings as well as monuments of the Roman Empire incessantly, committing the smallest details to paper and memory.
Returning to the United States in 1920, Shutze worked in New York for Mott Schmidt who designed townhouses for such families as the Astors, Morgans, and Vanderbilts. Within a few years he returned to Georgia where he once again worked for what was now Hentz, Reid and Adler. The firm in later years became Hentz, Adler and Shutze, thereafter, Shutze, Armistead and Adler, then Shutze and Armistead. This later professional association continued until 1951 when he resumed independent practice as Philip Shutze, architect.
In a career that spanned the first half of this century, Philip Shutze produced over 750 architectural works. Although Shutze practiced from 1912 to 1968 covering the period of ascendency of modernism through its final triumph, he remained a firmly committed classicist, practicing out of an office in Atlanta where he produced an extraordinary body of monumental commercial and institutional buildings and country villas. Some of his works include the Swan House, Rich's Department Store Renaissance Palazzo, The Temple, Villa Apartments, Garrison Apartments, Atlanta Athletic Club, Eastlake Country Club, Dan Horgan House (Macon), Morris Michael House (Macon), Emory University Education Building, Academy of Medicine as well as many others.
Thomas Henry Morgan was born in Manilius, New York on December 11, 1857. By the time he was four years old his mother had died, and he was brought by his father to Knoxville, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee. In 1878, at the age of twenty-one, he came to Atlanta. There was plenty of work for an ambitious young architect to undertake in Atlanta, for the city was busily engaged in rebuilding from the ashes left by General Sherman.
Mr. Morgan, the fourth professional to work in Atlanta, joined the firm of Perkins and Bruce. Morgan became one of the most prominent architects in the city and in 1868 the firm of Perkins and Bruce became Bruce and Morgan. The firm continued under this name until Mr. Bruce died; thereafter the firm was known as Morgan and Dillon. Mr. Morgan's son-in-law joined the firm some time later and it was known as Morgan, Dillon and Lewis. During his sixty-two years of practice he worked on churches, residences and public buildings but it was his commercial and office buildings which earned him the title of the man who molded Atlanta's skyline. Among his works are No. 22 Marietta Street Building, No. 10 Forsyth Street Building, Retail Credit Company Building, J. P. Allen Building, Oglethorpe University, North Avenue Presbyterian Church, Georgia Tech Administration Building and All Saints Episcopal Church.
It was also Thomas Morgan who is noted for bringing the blueprint to Atlanta. After reading about this process in Scientific American Magazine, Mr. Morgan duplicated the recipe from chemicals he bought at the drugstore and developed the first set of blueprints in the city. He died December 23, 1940.
Dowling, Elizabeth. American Classicist: The Architecture of Philip Trammell Shutze. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1959.
Garrett, Franklin. Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1954.
Lyon, Elizabeth M. Business Buildings in Atlanta: A Study in Urban Growth and Form. Atlanta: Emory University, 1971.
Morgan, Thomas H. "The Georgia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects," The Atlanta Historical Bulletin, VII #28 (Sept. 1943), 89- 137.
MSS Collection of Hentz, Reid, Adler & Shutze Architectural Drawings. Atlanta Historical Society microfilm collection.
"Thomas Henry Morgan," The Atlanta Historical Bulletin, VII #28 (Sept. 1943), 87-88.
Group I (1) (2) (3)
The proposed nomination of Citizens and Southern National Bank Building meets the above referenced criteria, as well as the minimum criteria, for a Landmark Building or Site as set out in Section 16-20.004 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta.