SOM collaborated with the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC), the oldest and largest association of historically Black colleges and universities in America, to envision a long-term development strategy. The consortium’s four member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College—are located in close proximity, immediately west of Atlanta’s thriving downtown. The master plan reimagines this district to amplify the impact of these institutions, while leveraging the city’s current growth to advance this significant center of Black leadership.
SOM partnered with Studio H SHAPE to bring local knowledge and expertise and a deep understanding of the project stakeholders and community. The planning and design concepts were informed by local economic development expertise from HR&A and Red Rock Global, and community engagement from Clarification & Mediation. The team designed a plan to better connect the four institutions into a dynamic destination of national importance. As development momentum grows in nearby neighborhoods, the plan seizes a moment of opportunity for the district, its people, and the surrounding communities, while supporting each institution’s vision for decades to come.
The framework is designed to leverage and amplify the existing assets of the Atlanta University Center and explore potential shared uses among the institutions. The district contains multiple museums, art galleries, and cultural venues, with opportunities to create connectivity via a range of transit modes, shared open spaces and promenades, new academic and research facilities, and places to live, meet, and socialize.
The plan builds on core principles—sustainability, heritage and culture, health and wellness, integrated technologies, and intellectual resources—to arrive at a shared vision for AUCC. Synthesizing institutional and community priorities for mutual benefit, the plan promotes excellence in education, research, innovation, and the arts, while fostering equitable development and economic mobility.