O2O4W: Oxygen House in the Old Fourth Ward District
O2O4W (Oxygen House in the Old Fourth Ward District) is a lung cancer community center project in the heart of Atlanta’s historic Martin Luther King Jr. memorial site. The project is an adaptive reuse of the to-be-demolished MLK Natatorium building footprint. The site is on an inaccessible inward-facing urban block at the bottom of a 14′ retaining wall. Urban context is unified by a building program that addresses a highly-private program of lung cancer patient consultation and is fortified with a supporting community center. Through creating a “breathing building”, the architecture takes a net-zero stance against a continuing trend of pollution in Atlanta, GA. The building systems feature a south-facing double skin integrated with HVAC. The project creates a gateway into a previously inaccessible urban block and invites the community into an activated MLK plaza.
The design of the lung cancer patient care and community center conceptually parallels the counterpoints of earth and sky as two contrasting elements that defy and define the other. Emotional consultation of the individual must exist on a separate realm from the socially active community but also work in the community as a social tectonic. The ground level community center acts as a support to the elevated, upper level patient care. The concept takes root in Martin Heidegger’s theory of fourfold as mentioned in his book “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”. The building seeks to provide a refuge of clean air and peace while raising awareness of the continuing trend of pollution in Atlanta to the community.