The State Archives and Records building is one of the coolest and most mysterious on Atlanta’s skyline. Motorists entering I-20 East from the Downtown Connector are soon met by the brooding, seemingly windowless cube that looms over the highway. While the structure’s public service days are sadly over, it has found new life on the big screen.
The state’s archives, which date back to colonial times, were originally kept at the State Capitol. They were moved to Rhodes Hall on Peachtree Street in 1930. As the collection grew, the Georgia Department of Archives and Records building was constructed in the 1960s to accommodate it. Located at 330 Capi-tol Avenue between the State Capitol and Turner Field, the structure consists of a two-story base with tall windows and a piazza walkway that wraps around the building. The iconic five-story cube sits on top, and the interior originally featured stained glass panels depicting the rise and fall of the Confederacy.
In the mid-2000s, it was discovered that constant vibrations from the nearby highways were caus-ing the building to sink by as much as an inch every few years. This degradation is visible via buckling and cracking on the piazza. The building was deemed unsuitable for daily occupation, and the state’s archives were moved to a facility in Morrow, Georgia. The building is now vacant, save for a small con-tingent of state police officers.
The building has since been leased to filmmakers, who have been given free rein to custom-build interior sets. Not surprisingly, it is tailor-made for a number of institutional scenarios. Prison sets have been built in the basement and on the second floor, and the second floor also features a fully tricked-out newsroom. The third floor has a morgue. Production on the political thriller “Kill the Messenger” re-cently wrapped at the building.
Here’s wishing the old cube many more years on our skyline and screens!