Preservation is not as important as progress

Recent demolition of the Crum and Forster Building on Tech Square to set the construction pathway for the High Performance Computing (HPC) Building project began earlier last month. The building’s deconstruction was met with strong opposition by preservationists who wanted to prevent the building’s demolition as it is a significant historical site.

According to the Atlanta Preservation Center, the group promoting salvation of the site, the building is important because it “established Atlanta as a regional center for insurance firms.”

Personally, I’ve never known Atlanta to be a regional center of any type of insurance. Rather, a young, technologically adept and trending city image is conjured in my mind upon reflection of what Atlanta means. Moreover, the Crum and Forster building is by no means an attractive piece of architecture.

On the surface, it becomes inherently obvious, in line with what I, and what many as well, portray Atlanta as, to pursue demolition of the “historic” Crum and Forster Building and establish a building that will serve as an office space for computing, banking, biotech and, somewhat ironically, insurance firms.

From a more intimate standpoint, the building’s location on Tech Square beckons an evaluation of the how optimally that space is being occupied. The Crum and Forster building as it stands hardly gives off a technological vibe suitable for Tech Square. A building geared towards supporting the cooling, networking and power capacities of high performance computing, however, is an ideal step in creating a technological hub.

In addition, the value attached to high-performance computing cannot be neglected. The field is definitely hyped appropriately these days—whether it’s tied to emerging ideas like systems biology and personalized medicine or continuing the works in examples like computational fluid dynamics to analyze complex flow situations and analyzing billions of data points in large data sets to model financial scenarios.

Establishing a building dedicated to this activity will create a centralized location for such kinds of activities. Spaces inside the building have been specifically designated for external companies to occupy. To any college graduate, this immediately translates to additional job offerings and greater on-campus recruitment for jobs.

The other kinds of opportunities this may provide for undergraduates at Tech, including potential researching positions for those interested, can also not be unnoticed. Finally, multidisciplinary research has also been gaining ground at Tech—and the type of work this building provides is just another, albeit a bit more indirect, example of that field.

Tech’s decision to pursue this project is, for the reasons mentioned above, a definite step in the right direciton.