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Serene Homes in Georgia

Aria by Ashton Woods revives 19th Century Architecture through vibrant design and energy-efficiency

By Sophia Acevedo

Southern cities like Nashville and Atlanta have been seeing significant homebuyer demand as of recently as a result of changing home buyer preferences due to the pandemic, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Just a short drive away from Atlanta, in the city of Sandy Springs, Georgia, one community that’ll surely reflect this growing trend from homebuyers is the village of Aria.

The community was developed, built and designed by Ashton Woods and began construction in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2022. Currently, Aria features more than 400 homes, including single-family homes, townhomes and lofts. The community also has apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail, as well as the Mercedes Benz headquarter located on the east side of the community.

“Aria brings together the vibrancy of the city and the serenity of the country, arts and craft, nature and urbanity,” says Jay Kallow, senior vice president of architecture at Ashton Woods.

An Effortless Build

Through the work of in-house teams from Ashton Woods and urban planners Duany, Plater-Zyberk, the project had gotten underway in addressing the most challenging part of the project—the site’s topography. Rather than rework the site’s landscape, the homes were built to follow the direction of the site’s landscape.

“From the start, we wanted Aria to be a community worthy of the site we were building on, which required the land plan, architecture, landscaping, hardscaping and amenities all to create a natural and organic feel—even when it was anything but,” Kallow says.

Ashton Woods teams also worked and coordinated with the city of Sandy Springs to figure out a way to make the community’s streets and parks still feel intimate while right in the middle of the middle of the city.

“The units either beautifully and naturally step down the site along parks or run parallel to ridges benching the grade along the roads that meander through the community,” says Kallow. 

New Urbanism and Energy Efficiency

The community of Aria reflects the trend in new urbanism, which promotes the idea of creating walkable eco-friendly living spaces that people can be a part of. In Aria, that meant including walking and biking trails as well as pools and green spaces, which are exactly what buyers are craving right now as they adjust to life both during and after the pandemic.

In terms of future plans, Kallows says that Ashton Woods will have a portion of the development that is dedicated to a public park, with trails and walkways for people to continue to enjoy the outdoors outside of their homes.

As an ENERGY Star partner, Ashton Woods also made sure to integrate green features into their homes. Aria includes energy-efficient features that vary upon the homebuyers interests and needs.

All homes at Aria have ENERGY Star appliances and HVAC systems, as well as LED lighting and Low HVAC paint. Other features such as smart home technology, solar installation, and water saving are optional features that can be included in Aria homes.

Unique Features and Design

Ashton Woods took a more creative and personalized approach to both its architecture and amenities in order to make their community stand out.

When making the architecture for Aria, Ashton Woods was inspired by 19th century English Arts and Crafts architecture, specifically the architecture style of C.F.A Voysey. However, rather than simply replicate the architecture style, Ashton Woods added some modern interpretations to it.

For instance, light toned brick was incorporated into the exterior to create a contrast with dark painted siding. According to Kallow, the colors would complement the shadowing in the woods and give the home a feeling of instant character and well-worn age.

Since there are a variety of living spaces, from townhomes to single-family homes, more personalized touches were also depending on the type of home involved. For instance, Concerto, a four-story townhome that’s part of the Aria Symphony Series, has cascading staircases that provide a whimsical feel, says Kallow.

Units in the community vary in size from 2,171 square feet to 4,189 square feet. With prices anywhere from $545,900 and going up to $1,074,900, Aria is meant to accommodate a wide range of homebuyers.

“Whether they’re commuting to work or simply want to be close to friends, Aria’s prime location and the low maintenance suburban-urban living is appealing,” says Kallow. “In addition, these buyers highly value the possibilities for design and personalization with each Aria Home.”

Aria is also unique when compared to other multi-family communities because a part of dense forest was preserved along the north-western boundary and has become a focal point of entrance for the location.

In terms of amenities, Ashton Woods wanted to provide a bit of everything in order to provide a unique community experience. Aria has communal gathering spots for everyone to come together. In the Iconic Building, there is a communal post office, a gym and two large community gathering spaces, one space of which actually includes a large patio that overlooks a pond.

“Regardless of the size of one’s home at Aria, the communal gathering spots scattered throughout the community provide the owners’ a place to entertain outside of their four walls,” says Kallow.

In all, the community of Sandy Springs.

Sophia Acevedo is the Assistant Editor at Builder and Developer Magazine. She can be reached at sophia@builder.media.