2022 | Professional

MUSE Design Awards Gold Winner

Magnolia Room at Rich's Department Store

Entrant Company

Savannah College of Art and Design

Category

Interior Design - Historic Restoration

Client's Name

City of Atlanta

Country / Region

United States

Founded in 1867 by Morris Rich, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, Rich’s Department Store came to symbolize the retail shopping experience in Atlanta during the twentieth century and is inextricably linked with the history of the city through a strong sense of civic responsibility. The M.Rich & Bros. Co. building was designed by Hentz, Reid & Adler in the Italian Renaissance Style and opened in 1924. It is located in the South Downtown Historic District Atlanta. After the resurrection of this building, the company M.Rich & Bros. Co. reasserted itself as Atlanta’s greatest retailer.



Rich’s had a reputation for being more tolerant toward African American customers and found itself in the midst of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Students targeted the Magnolia Room where several students as well as Martin Luther King Jr were arrested during a sit-in. By the fall of 1961, Rich’s began to desegregate. The purpose of the project inspires to revive the symbolism of Rich’s in the downtown community once again bringing back the traditions of the shopping experience and meals in the Magnolia Room as a cultural monument for its exceptional historical and townscape significance, antiquity, and social value of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. After a feasibility study, market analysis, and proforma, a retail and hospitality project is proposed for the rehabilitation project from its current state as a federal building.

Credits

Professor Savannah College of Art and Design
Sabrinna L Cox
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