Atlanta INtown Article: Ivy Hall

Atlanta INtown Newspaper – November Issue

Old and New: SCAD Completes Ivy Hall Restoration

The Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta (SCAD) officially celebrated the opening of its new cultural and writing center, Ivy Hall, in October. The newly restored 19th century mansion sits at the corner of Piedmont and Ponce de Leon avenues in Midtown, juxtaposed with the new condominiums (also called Ivy Hall) that surround it.

Built in 1886 for Edward Peters, one of Atlanta’s founders, Ivy Hall might be best known to many Atlantans as the now defunct Mansion Restaurant. Much of the first floor was destroyed by fire in 2000, which forced the restaurant to close. After it lay dormant for several years and was named one of Atlanta’s endangered buildings, the owners, William Swearingen of S.D.H. Investment Corporation, William Dunaway and Harry Hill, donated the house to SCAD in 2007.

Since then, led my SCAD’s historic preservation specialist, Bob Dickensheets, SCAD staff and students have preserved Ivy Hall’s historic architecture and updated the mansion’s more than 4,000 square feet.

“Imagine the ceilings falling in, the windows knocked out, a fire, the roof falling in, the hardware gone, the doors stolen. It was just a mess,” Dickensheets recalled. “We do what the college does best, preserve beautiful old buildings.”

Ivy Hall was hailed as one of the first examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture in the city. Originally designed by architect Gottfrid L. Norman in 1883, the house still maintains some of Norman’s signature Japanese-inspired design: hand-carved wood panels, lincrusta fabric panels, a carved pulpit as the centerpiece of the front staircase, and ivy accents throughout the décor. Updates to the house include computer and data ports, an apartment to house artists-in-residence, and lecture and classroom space.

This winter SCAD will host open-to-the-public lectures and writers’ series as well as a holiday concert in Ivy Hall.

For more info, visit www.artofrestoration.org.

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