GSU Outdoor Student Recreation Facility

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GSU Outdoor Student Recreation Facility

Make3 architecture/planning/design
1075 Brady Avenue NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30318
Jim Winer

Project Location: 188 MLK Dr/Atlanta/Georgia
Completion Date: 07/29/2011
Owner: Georgia State University

Builder: Juneau Construction

Builder Address: / 4042876000

Project Description

The existing building is an approximately 17,000 square foot brick and stone warehouse, which had recently been used as a homeless shelter and film set. A loading dock ran the full length of the south/street façade, and the north façade was a pre-Civil War stone wall which had been completely obscured by graffiti.

 The program is a 22,329 SF, one story, major state university student recreation facility and football practice facility. Specific programmatic requirements include men’s/women’s locker rooms, 142-seat meeting room, divisible conference rooms, hydrotherapy room, storage, and training/rehabilitation area. Two existing practice fields were to be integrated into the design.

The design concept was to carefully insert a dense program into the surviving antebellum structure while incorporating a progressive and modern aesthetic.

The major project challenges included a short duration (14 weeks (October through January) for reprograming through CD’s), a discrepancy between client’s initial program area (33,200 SF), tight budget, and insufficient space to accommodate the program within the existing building (17,000 SF) and the available space for an addition (5,300 SF loading dock area). Exacerbating the challenges, in the middle of project production the owner’s budget was cut in half, leading to the project being divided into 4 successive phases as the budget allowed.

 The design opportunities: The pre-Civil War granite rubble wall, large expanse of clerestory glass, and exposed wood/steel roof structure were identified as the major character-defining elements of the existing building. As such, these elements would remain and contribute to the overall building aesthetic. Interwoven within these elements is the modern construction for accommodating the new use.


While the existing large clerestory and high ceilings invited an open, voluminous design approach, the functional and spatial requirements of the complex and densely packed program made the approach a challenge. The existing spatial qualities were preserved by envisioning interior elements as discrete boxes and demising wall surfaces with ample glazing placed inside and below the larger framework of the historic envelope. The use of full-height partitions was limited to separating public/private building zones and areas requiring mechanical separation. The end result of this strategy was to enhance the existing building’s spatial and material qualities by contrasting them with the new modern elements.


The addition across the front includes a loading dock, ADA ramp, entry foyer, and team meeting room. The addition is designed to accommodate a second floor. Storage is also provided in a basement below the front addition.


Sustainability/LEED: The client did not want to pursue LEED Certification; however, sustainable features were added to the project including:

  1. Storefront and Glazing: Existing glazing systems replaced with new thermally broken storefront and high performance glass (also used for new glass & exceeding current ASHRAE requirements),
  2. Deeply recessed south entry façade for summer month shading,
  3. Existing roof was removed to enhance the insulation package,
  4. High performance HVAC systems,
  5. Low flow fixtures,
  6. Ample natural light,
  7. Reuse of existing structures.

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