Timeless for Today: Behind the Design of Holly Springs Town Center
The construction, now underway, of Holly Springs Town Center is the culmination of years of work and thoughtful planning. One of the most critical elements of that process was, of course, the design of the place itself. The City had a strong vision for a Town Center that would not only become an exciting new destination for residents and visitors, but also one that would be true to the character of Holly Springs, honoring its long history and rich sense of community. Roger Caldwell, principal of Marietta-based Caldwell-Cline Architects and Designers, was tapped as the lead architect for the project tasked with capturing that vision in one cohesive and compelling design. We talked with Roger to learn a little more about the design inspiration behind Holly Springs Town Center and what sets it apart.
Q: Tell us more about the inspiration behind the concept for Holly Springs Town Center from an architectural perspective.
A: The biggest thing that I wanted to do was to create a place that is really classic in a historically accurate sense, not just trendy but timeless. There are a lot of Town Centers and mixed-use settings that have gone up all over the area over the years and the design may look really cool and it’s what’s on-trend at that moment in time. But what will that feel like in 50 years? I wanted this Town Center to have the feel like these buildings have been there forever, and in 50 years they’ll still feel that way. The real intent of the design is to be timeless in that way, not dated.
Q: How did that come to life in the design?
It’s really classically good design that’s not watered down in terms of the styling, proportions, details that stands the test of time. So, you will see a lot of those design principles at work in the structures and across the site. In the layout of the site itself, there’s symmetry and balance. The sight lines are important and well thought out. For example, the amphitheater is on axis with City Hall. You have this long central park space that is flanked by the buildings on either side symmetrically. Those are things that people may not specifically notice when they are there, but it makes the place feel good and that’s what people will notice.
Q: What about the buildings themselves?
A: You have City Hall as this central sort of icon to the site with everything building around it. It should feel as though this is a place that has been there for a long time and has grown and evolved. So, you have buildings that come up around it as if they were added on naturally over the years. We’ve chosen traditional materials and color palettes, and then there’s variation in those across the different structures on the site, again creating that sense of a place that has grown over time.
Q: How do you make classic design modern in a sense, to work for the way we live now?
A: This is a place where we are creating a classic feel with modern function. So, there are a lot of details to the site that help to make it work really well for today while still maintaining that feel. That can be something small like how we’ve incorporated areas for Uber and rideshare drop-offs. It also affects some of the major elements of the site. For example, the parking deck will serve the site and is even designed to expand over time if needed. It’s convenient from an access standpoint but aesthetically hidden away from the main part of the site. The land plan is very pedestrian-friendly in that it de-emphasizes the vehicle and kind of takes it out of the experience. You can park and then spend the day out of the car.
Q: What’s the experience that you hope visitors to Holly Springs Town Center will walk away with?
A: I hope it’s a place that feels like it’s always been there. And a spot where you can spend a whole day. Start with breakfast, hang out on the green, catch a show at the amphitheater, have dinner. It’s a whole destination unto itself and one where you can feel at home.
Q: What do you think will make Holly Springs Town Center special?
A: I think Holly Springs Town Center is unique in a lot of ways. I think that the diversity of the land plan is really important in the diversity of businesses and activities and functions that it brings to the site. That’s something that’s been really carefully planned, and it gives you a lot of different reasons to come there and ways to enjoy that space. I also think that pulling in the different residential opportunities close to Town Center, walking distance to all of this, is really important. Those things naturally draw people to the site. And that’s what’s really special is that vibrancy and community that’s created by the people and activity. By facilitating that process, the place will come to life and thrive. I’m excited to see it.