The Penthouse at the Lamar Building
Address: 753 Broad Street
Owner: Privately Owned
History and Significance: Designed by internationally known architect I. M. Pei and partners, the penthouse on the Lamar Building was completed in 1976. The Lamar Building itself, designed by architect G. Lloyd Preacher of Augusta and Atlanta, and architect W. L. Stoddard of New York, was completed in 1918 after the structure was damaged in the great Augusta conflagration of 1916. The juxtaposition of the modern architectural style of the penthouse and the main skyscraper with Baroque elements has been the topic of conversation since the penthouse was finished. Whether or not you agree with the design of the addition, the fact that Augusta has such a volume of designs from I. M. Pei is worth documenting and preserving. It is notable that Pei’s design for the Louvre Pyramid in Paris was a decade following the Augusta design, which he also based on the Egyptian pyramids. The Georgia Chapter of the International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (DOCOMOMO) visited Augusta in the summer of 2010 and the Lamar Building’s penthouse was the highlight of the group’s site visits. With such prominent visibility on the downtown skyline, the condition of the penthouse should reflect reinvestment in downtown. It also serves as a symbol that as time passes, buildings of our recent past become more significant, and representative examples need to be preserved into the next century.
Threat: The penthouse is vacant and maintenance is deferred. Glass pane has been damaged on the southern façade and not repaired.
Potential Uses: Private office space, commercial office space, income producing rental or small event space
Preservation Tools: (1) A contributing resource in the Augusta Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is therefore eligible for all programs of the National Register which are tax incentives for certified rehabilitations and other potential grant funds when available; (2) located in the Downtown Local Historic District which means that any alteration to the exterior, including demolition, should be approved by the Augusta Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission.