Riverside EpiCenter

Pieper O'Brien Herr Architects
3000 Royal Blvd South
Alpharetta, Georgia 30022
Charles O'Brien III

Project Location: 135 Riverside Pkwy, Austell, GA 30168
Completion Date: 11/23/2013
Owner: Word of Faith Cathedral

Builder: Brasfield & Gorrie

Builder Address: cwakefield@brasfieldgorrie.com 678-581-6400

Architects Involved:

Engineers Involved:
Pruitt Eberly Stone, Structural

AHA Consulting Engineers

Brewer Engineering, Civil

Additional Team:
Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects, Interior Design Studio

Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects, Graphic Design Studio

Gleeds, Program Manager

Waveguide, Acoustic Consultant

jB+a Inc., Landscape Architect

J&A Engineering, Security Consultant

Project Description

Design Problem:

The Owner had three lofty goals for the new facility: Provide a safe haven for the community’s at-risk youth, a sustainable place for recreational family experiences and an entertainment & conference event destination. This varied program required a youth center with an arcade, nursery, health club and NCAA regulation basketball gym, bowling alley, rock climbing wall, recording studio, food court and a performance auditorium and event conference center. The Owner requested that these potentially disparate program functions be expressed on the exterior to make the facility more approachable by the community.


Design Solution:

The architect’s response was to develop this unique opportunity into an inspired design by combining these contrasting program requirements into a dynamic building.  From the outset, the architectural team was focused on capturing the vision and energy of the original dream. The design solution for the project was conceived from initial studies as a vibrant modern center that would captivate community involvement, engage the youth and offer an alternative for the individuals and families looking for wholesome entertainment and recreational opportunities. Many models were studied, along with a constant refinement within the expansive program and constrained budget. The final result is a design with very dynamic spaces, interwoven with a variety of textural articulation that stimulate the senses. The design alignment continues as the vibrant exterior expresses the building’s interior functions with sensitive respect for human scale. The complementary adjacencies of the performance auditorium and conference center allows for reserved functions with a dedicated pre-function space and entrance while providing direct access for others to the Youth, Recreation and Entertainment areas. Similarly, the configuration also allows for events to flow from the event spaces to the entertainment venues as desired. The design provided crucial solutions to these prime program requirements.

Sustainable design was a driving force from the project inception. The facility is on track to achieve LEED Silver.  Recycled marble plaster walls, terrazzo flooring made from locally available marble chips and low VOC paints and carpets were utilized. The furniture is covered with selected fabrics producing reduced environmental impact and minimal maintenance. Daylighting concepts are utilized throughout the facility, especially in the mall circulation, youth center, gym and conference center. The innovative use of materials continues with iridescent resin case work, translucent counter tops, dichroic glass films, actual coffee beans encased in resin panels, deep textural cast wall tiles which contrast with interesting wood grain veneers.

The result reinforces a sense of wonder and continued discovery by the occupants, especially the youth.  This youth focused venue has provided the safe haven and family leisure experience that was desired by the owner at the project inception. The facility’s auditorium and conference facility has created an amazing opportunity for this forgotten community.