Passengers on MARTA’s elevated rail line just west of the Historic Decatur Square may have wondered what the sharp-lined new structure is greeting them at eye-level like something from the pages of Dwell.

The answer could surprise: It’s the new home of an agency devoted to providing accessible housing and greater equality, established in the DeKalb County seat nearly a century ago.

The Decatur Housing Authority recently moved into their new home at 511 W. Trinity Place on the western fringes of downtown. The distinctively modern, 12,000-square-foot facility replaced a long-vacant lot and is designed to feel urban, with its street-oriented stance and small, landscaped parking area tucked behind the building for DHA staff.

According to the design team at PRAXIS3 architecture, the location presented infrastructure challenges but was strategic, in that it’s located within walking distance of many of DHA’s largest properties, including the Trinity Walk Apartments, Allen Wilson Apartments, and Swanton Heights Apartments. 

Topped with solar panels, the two-story structure was designed to use passive solar shading technology throughout both levels, which contain a resident training center, client and administrative offices, and DHA board and meeting rooms.

The ceramic wall, shown at bottom left, includes images of various DHA buildings. Rion Rizzo, Rizzo Creative Sources Photography

The site of DHA's 12,000-square-foot new home at 511 W. Trinity Place, just west of the city's historic square. Google Maps

According to its architects, the structure takes design cues from a nearby school administration building but maintains an approachably modern, open façade, with an entrance that recalls “an abstract residential structure” and lively interiors with no shortage of natural light.  

“We’re very proud of the building and of the good work that DHA does in the City of Decatur,” said David Hamilton, a principal with PRAXIS3, a firm whose other recent work includes the BeltLine-fronting Madison at Reynoldstown project and Grant Park’s Glencastle, a reimagining of the old Atlanta Stockade complex.

Construction on the DHA headquarters, led by contractor Headley Construction Corp., spanned between January 2022 and October. The total cost wasn’t specified this week.

Established in 1938, the DHA’s mission is to develop affordable, workforce housing while increasing economic and racial diversity in Decatur. It’s developed or assisted in the development of more than 800 homes since 2000—representing an investment of $103 million in Decatur—and chalked up awards from the likes of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and Atlanta’s Southface Institute along the way.

Rion Rizzo, Rizzo Creative Sources Photography

Rion Rizzo, Rizzo Creative Sources Photography

Today, DHA owns and manages 524 rental units in Decatur, assists with 166 senior housing units, and oversees more than 1,100 housing choice vouchers in DeKalb County, for a total of 1,808 families assisted, according to the agency.

Find a closer look at DHA’s new HQ in the gallery above.

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