Husband-and-wife-led architecture firm Gamble + Gamble has built a reputation for designing progressive single-family homes, modern-style townhomes, and striking hospitality design. But the restoration of the historic (and crumbling) Clermont Hotel presented challenges on a new scale.
Michael and Lee Ann Gamble won a 2012 competition of ideas on how to redesign the 1924 Poncey-Highland landmark and were then hired as architect of record by new owners BNA Associates of Nashville.
Transforming the tired structure into an 89-key, luxury boutique hotel—with the famed Clermont Lounge in the basement, a new restaurant at lobby level, plus a rooftop bar with sweeping views—has been laborious. Each step has been scrutinized by Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division and the National Parks Service, which has final say over National Register of Historic Places buildings like the Clermont. For example, new windows exactly match the glass and mullions of their predecessors, and mortar joints were repointed across much of the exterior.
“There are very precise standards,” Lee Ann says, “but I think we did a very good job of matching.”
On a broader scale, the hotel’s inviting new facade and sidewalks should boost the area’s pedestrian experience when it opens in early 2018.
“We feel like we’re sort of setting the stage for Ponce as it reemerges as a boulevard,” Michael says. “We’re really excited about adaptive-reuse projects and also historic preservation, putting these buildings on the national historic register. And that’s pretty radical for Atlanta.”
The firm was also architect of record for the Atlanta Daily World building’s rehabilitation (see below), which the National Trust for Historic Preservation called a “Top Ten Save” of 2014. “That’s a big deal, because the building could have been lost,” says Michael. “It could have very easily been another surface parking lot.”
This article originally appeared in our November 2017 issue.