It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes one—or at least the vision of such a place—to create a multifamily project that successfully combines density and scale.

That's the approach that architect James, Harwick + Partners took with the Park District, a market-rate apartment complex that belongs to Atlanta's Atlantic Station, a 138-acre redeveloped former brownfield. “We wanted to do something different—we did not want to do a donut structure,” explains Ron Harwick, president of the firm, who instead wanted the property to have the feel of a European village, with distinctive architecture and a pedestrian-friendly site plan.

As a result, the 231-unit Park District (which is named for its proximity to green space and a pond) is actually a collection of five separate buildings, all connected by bridges. “As you walk through the property, it really feels like a village of separate buildings,” says Carl Malcolm, the project designer and an associate at the Dallas-based firm. “Each has a different character—it really reinforces the European concept.”

The design also offers human-scale architecture at an urban density of 70 units per acre.

Park District, which opened last summer, offers one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $650 to $1,500. Managed by The Lane Co., it is 83 percent leased.

INVITING STREETSCAPE: Architects at James Harwick + Partners wanted the Park District to interact with its pedestrian-friendly setting.

RECLAIMED GROUND: The Park District is located in Atlantic Station, a 138-acre former brownfield that was home to the Atlantic Steel Co.