At the Intersection of W Congress,
Barnard, and W Bryan Streets
National Historic Landmark District
The City of Savannah
Type of Services:
New Construction, Architecture, Planning, Engineering
2013 Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award
2011 AIA Georgia Merit Award
2011 AIA Savannah Citation
2010 LEED Gold Certification (New Construction Program)
2011 Historic Savannah Foundation
2011 American Society of Landscape Architects
2011 Build Georgia Award (Associated General Conractors of America)
The heart of Savannah was once found amid the bustling shops and produce stalls of City Market located in Ellis Square – one of Oglethorpe’s original planned public squares in Decker Ward. But in 1954, that center of interaction and history was lost when the City Market building was demolished to make way for a parking garage. After 50 years, Savannah finally has its public square back.
The planners, architects, and landscape architects worked with the City of Savannah and its citizens to design a public space that serves a variety of functions. From fourteen public design charrettes and share-holder meetings, a set of design principles was developed, guiding the design of a new public square that both respects Savannah’s historic character and accommodates its 21st-century needs.
What is known as the “Open Space” plan for Ellis Square features a plaza and green space, allowing the flexibility of larger gatherings that many of the other squares cannot provide. A depressed elliptical lawn creates a safe place for children to play while providing seating at its perimeter. A water feature / interactive fountain is centrally located for children to run through and passers-by to enjoy. The new buildings on the northwest corner feature a hospitality and information center, public mens’ and womens’ restrooms, and storage for the City. The hospitality center includes a stair and elevator connection to the four level parking deck below and a display of information for visitors. The adjacent plaza acts as lunch seating by day and performance stage by night.
The ultimate focus of Ellis Square is people, and its design has restored a place for Savannahians to reflect on history and enjoy in a variety of ways. It has become a destination point in Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District for both residents and visitors alike. Furthermore, since its opening in March 2010, it is clear that the pedestrian friendly square is spurring the redevelopment and vitality of Decker Ward. Several new construction and preservation projects are underway in its vicinity.