Before the Pyramid, there was "The Toaster"--a taste of I. M. Pei down South
Every April, thousands of visitors descend upon Augusta, Georgia for The Masters golf tournament. While the azaleas and dogwoods that line the fairways are beautiful, the streetscape outside the Augusta National Golf Club is a car-dominated aesthetically unfortunate collection of chain restaurants and strip-mall-churches--not exactly what you'd expect if you were to believe the city's official nickname of "The Garden City."
Drive just ten minutes away, however, and you'll end up in the Augusta Downtown Historic District, set aside by the National Park Service due to its collection of architecture from the 1780's to the present. (Sherman didn't march through this part of the state, sparing it the Civil War damage that destroyed Atlanta.) Georgia's second-largest and second-oldest city might not be a 'destination' in the way that Savannah and Atlanta are (unless you love golf), but if you're in town and architecture interests you, it's worth spending some time down by the Savannah River.
One of the tallest structures is the Lamar building--built in the 1910's. In the mid-1970's it was topped by a glass penthouse, designed by...I. M. Pei--the same architect who is perhaps best known for the now-iconic glass pyramid that dominates the courtyard of the Louvre in Paris. Augusta's piece of Parisian-linked-architecture-fame is locally known as "the toaster." Just slightly irreverent...