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Pond, RJTR and Corgan: Shaping Atlanta Through Growing Urbanization

The American Civil War may have purged Atlanta, GA, of its Antebellum architecture, but the Southern city has plenty of Southern charm. Yet Atlanta’s recent turn as FinTech hub has put a premium on the city’s growing urbanization. As a result, downtown areas are the new suburbs. And neighborhoods have transformed into Millennial hives that blend workspaces and living amenities with a healthy dose of gentrification. But growing urbanization has also put architecture and engineering firms like Pond & Company, RJTR, and Corgan on the front lines in the battle to define Atlanta’s metropolitan identity.

They’ve certainly proven up to the task in a bold way.

Growing urbanization has made Atlanta into a Millennial dream.
Firms like Pond & Company, RJTR and Corgan are shaping Atlanta through its trend of urbanization.

Atlanta: One of the Fastest Growing Urban Areas

When growing urbanization overtook New York, master builder Robert Moses seized the opportunity to reshape the concrete canyons and infrastructure. The result: highways, tunnels, numerous buildings, and even a since-torn-down baseball stadium, each leaving an indelible mark on the urban fabric of the Big Apple. But those urban development wheels remained in constant motion. These days the battle for that city’s soul is stuck straddling the line between innovation… and aging eyesores.

Not so for Atlanta, which today is one of the fastest growing urban areas.

Always a more modern city than most, growing urbanization has molded the “ATL” into something more “user-friendly”. Millennials, who make up most of the current workforce, prefer to live in close proximity to their work. So urban planners have made work environments more accessible through transportation and amenities.

Meanwhile, for architectural firms like Pond, RJTR, and Corgan, mixed-use has become the new standard of urban development in Atlanta, where residential, commercial, institutional and entertainment functions are fully integrated into one area.

These companies are bringing this vision of growing urbanization to life, effectively transforming the soul of Atlanta.

Pond & Company

Founded in 1965, Pond is a progressive, full-service planning, architecture, construction, and engineering firm. It serves corporate, government and private sector clients in the US and globally. Pond prides itself on taking on projects that fuel the economy by creating spaces conducive for living and working. In May, it was ranked by the Engineering News Record as 119th in the Top 500 Design Firms of 2018. It has been consistently moving up, from 429th place in 2010, and 113th in 2017.

Pond & Co. has helped the Millennial Generation remold one of the fastest growing urban areas.
Growing urbanization in Atlanta means blending living space with workspace, and Pond & Co. has been at the forefront of this trend.

One of Pond’s recent projects is the Southface Energy Institute Eco-Office. It presents green construction techniques for a commercial office building. It is designed to catch stormwater for use inside the building, and clean water for irrigation. The green roof covering the building reduces stormwater runoff and regulates interior temperature. Pond designed and constructed a building where nature, beauty, and sustainability converge.

In 2017, Atlanta announced its commitment to eventually run entirely on renewable energy. Pond’s design and construction of the Southface Energy Institute Eco-Office shows that they’re already ahead of the curve.

Rule Joy Trammel Rubio, LLC

RJTR is known for its excellence in architecture, interior design, and master planning. With the company’s vast experience in national and international projects, RJTR is an expert in initial site testing, conceptual design, and project realization. The Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked RJTR as one of the top architecture and interior design firms of 2017.

As one of the fastest growing urban areas, Atlanta has become a city that blends living with function.
Nothing defines a city like the architectural design of its buildings, and Pond, RJTR and Corgan have used Atlanta’s growing urbanization trend to mold the city into a Millennial dream.

60 11th Street is an RJTR project with the Daniel Corporation and Selig Enterprises. It is a mixed-use complex with plenty of amenities for relaxation and fitness. Each unit features energy-efficient lighting and controls in conjunction with other LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver offerings.

The company is also spearheading the architecture, planning, signage design, and retail lease exhibits for 12th and Midtown. It is a mixed-use development that provides thousands of square feet for high-end grocery and street-level retail stores. It adds another dimension to the dynamic skyline of Atlanta.


Post-war America saw metropolitan populations migrate to the suburbs for house and home, leaving work for the cities. But Millennials in Atlanta have eschewed that commuter lifestyle. Instead, home isn’t far from the office. Places to shop and play are nearby, as well.

Corgan has helped realize this model for Atlanta.

Consistently ranked as one of the top architecture firms in the US, Corgan also specializes in design projects in fields such as aviation, critical facilities, education, and health care. The company aims to create spaces that have an impact on its end users. Their designs mix functionality, aesthetics and sustainability.

One such creation is the Mannington Commercial design center. Mannington is a 14,500 square foot multi-purpose facility that serves as an event space and meeting place. With an interior constructed with reclaimed wood and exposed brick, the building looks exactly how you’d imagine a modern Millennial work space would: cool and trendy.

Growing urbanization has made Atlanta unique in the South.
Atlanta has long been considered one of the more “modern” cities of South, and Corgan has helped shaped this fast-growing urban area.


Over a decade ago, Atlanta began to redefine itself through its Millennial lens. As the Atlanta Business Chronicle put it, “the development concept for real estate planning and design that combines homes, coffee shops, and dental offices within an easy walking distance of one another… has sowed its seeds all over metro Atlanta.” Since then, the city has grown, and its self-image has come into sharper focus.

And all the while, firms like Pond & Company, RJTR and Corgan have been doing their part to make growing urbanization a way of life.

Is it too Late to Alter your DNA? Dr. Andrea Baccarelli Doesn’t Think So (Part 1)

We all know about DNA, right? You get one set of chromosomes from your mother and one set from your father. Ultimately, this provides you with your own unique DNA, a molecular blueprint for your existence. Unless some chemical causes damage-in your DNA, or you are being considered for gene therapy, DNA alterations don’t occur. Or does it? As Dr. Andrea Baccarelli explains, that is not the case.

In part 1 of this 2, part article Bold Business discusses the field of epigenetics, and how scientists are discovering that DNA alterations can, and do occur often. The way you live has a significant impact on which DNA genes are expressed and which ones aren’t. Moreover, as noted by Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, the lifestyle you choose might affect more than just your own DNA. In part 2, we will report on the new testing Dr. Baccarelli is creating and how it can help you live a longer life.

“A philosophical shift needs to happen in the way we consider biology. And it’s happening now.”– Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, Chair and Leon Hess Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University

What is Epigenetics? Through the lens of Dr. Andrea Baccarelli

In considering how your lifestyle might affect your DNA, you first need to appreciate the field of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of how changes to your entire genome can affect your life without ever causing actual intrinsic DNA alterations. In other words, changes may occur outside your DNA structure while individual genes or DNA segments remain unaffected. These epigenetic changes can affect whether specific genes are expressed or not. And this, in turn, can play a role in whether you might be at greater risk for specific diseases.

Dr. Andrea Baccarelli discussing DNA Alterations and Epigenome discoveries
Dr. Andrea Baccarelli discussing Epigenome discoveries

Dr. Andrea Baccarelli has been studying epigenetics since 2003. His lifelong pursuit has been to evaluate the effects of lifestyle choices and the environment on our DNA. Interestingly, his discoveries and theories have greatly advanced our understanding of the link between lifestyle and disease.. Dr. Andrea Baccarelli’s work clearly shows that lifestyle choices and DNA alterations are linked. From diet, to exercise, to stress, DNA alterations occur based on the choices we make.

“At this point, we know that the epigenome is a very sensitive biosensor of exposure.”– Dr. Andrea Baccarelli

The Impact of Lifestyle on Epigenetic DNA Alterations

When it comes to epigenetics, a number of lifestyle factors can result in DNA alterations. For example, certain foods are known to cause oxidative stress, like polyunsaturated fats. Other foods like vegetables, however, are associated with good health and reduced disease risk. As Dr. Andrea Baccarelli explains, these choices can trigger chemical reactions in the body that cause DNA alterations. Some change where methyl groups are attached to DNA molecules. Others affect whether histone groups on DNA structures receive acetyl groups. These effects then determine whether a DNA gene is expressed or repressed. And that can determine the risk to a number of health conditions, good and bad.

Dr. Andrea Baccarelli Discusses Smoking and its impact on Epigenetics
Dr. Andrea Baccarelli discusses smoking and its impact on DNA

Among the various lifestyle factors, tobacco smoking appears to be one of the most significant epigenetically. Even second-hand smoke and maternal smoking during pregnancy have profound effects on DNA alterations. Other lifestyle factors that affect DNA alterations include physical activity, diet, alcohol use, and stress. Moreover, important discoveries regarding risks for obesity are being revealed through epigenetic studies. Parental dietary choices and early childhood diets may result in epigenetic DNA alterations that heighten lifelong risks for being overweight.

“Whether I smoke or drink or exercise, it does not just influence myself, it could influence my children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren.”– Dr. Andrea Baccarelli

A New Look at Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Today, many of us are focused on preserving resources and adopting sustainable life practices. But as Dr. Andrea Baccarelli describes, this same mentality should also be applied to our epigenetics. While many of the DNA alterations resulting from lifestyle choices are not inherited by future generations, some appear to be. Specifically, Dr. Andrea Baccarelli cites research that shows epigenetic “tags” in parents being expressed in their children’s and grandchildren’s DNA. These epigenetic changes are passed on due to DNA alterations on sperm and other reproductive germ cells. Thus, how we choose to live today likely has an impact on the health risks future generations will have.

Dr. Andrea Baccarelli discussing shifts in DNA Alterations
Dr. Andrea Baccarelli discussing the importance of DNA Alterations

Many insights still need to be attained regarding epigenetics and DNA alterations as well as their relationship to health. But this area of research is highly fascinating, and it highlights the importance of lifestyle choices. Epigenetics has the potential to explain dramatic rises in diseases like obesity and autism. And it may even reveal secrets of aging that could improve longevity and wellness. With bold leaders like Dr. Andrea Baccarelli involved, new opportunities for individual and public health advancements may soon be realized.

Ed Kopko, CEO and Publisher of Bold Business

Edward Kopko
CEO & Publisher
Ed Kopko is’s CEO and Publisher. He has a passion for business, economics and media. A serial entrepreneur, Ed has launched Bold Business to help broadcast the great accomplishments that come from business and entrepreneurial activity. He believes the very real and amazing Bold Impacts that these activities have created also make a micro economic case for trade and commerce. Ed’s previous media experience was as CEO, Publisher and Owner of Chief Executive Magazine and its related media activities. He has been published in many media venues including the Wall St. Journal, Detroit Free Press and He has also been a sought after commentator and appeared numerous times on CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and other media outlets.

Can We Change Our DNA? Dr. Baccarelli Has The Answer