Chattahoochee Community and Urban Outreach


The purpose of the Chattahoochee Community and Urban Outreach Center is to provide a community gathering place centered between the Chattahoochee River and the trailheads that surround it. Living in such a densely populated urban area that is constantly evolving, the population of Atlanta needs a center to escape our concrete jungle and reconnect with both nature and their community in a convenient location. The users would likely be families with young children, young adults starting their careers, dog owners, those who enjoy hiking/kayaking, and anyone who wants a reason to get outdoors!

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For the location I have in mind, there is already adequate parking and a large open space to build in. Our center would include a coffee/snack shop, a large wrap-around porch with plenty of seating in the shade, an information desk, adequate restrooms, and indoor seating, all with an open layout that brings nature inside through large glass windows, skylight, and décor that highlights the beauty around us. I know that on top of all my design ideas, I must think logistically with the information I have gained in this course – including things in the structure like a handicap accessibility and furnishings that can be easily sanitized. My structure itself must also meet city permitting rules, along with take into account the number of people visiting my space and alter facilities/parking in order to prevent issues.

Mood Board

Beginning the project, I wanted to gather inspiration that conveyed the overall feeling of the space beyond just the walls that would house it. Below is my mood board, which includes the site of the design, as well as the inspiration I drew for the interior and the exterior.

Mood board.

The building is located Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area’s field space next to the river, as shown above. The field is quite large, and the 2800 square foot plan for the building would preserve a large amount of the field for activities. The interior photos that follow exude natural light combined with warm wood that connect the interior to the exterior, which is the main goal of the “urban outreach” in our name! The interior provides a welcoming, community oriented environment that allows users to enjoy their natural environment while being in a productive work and social environment. Finally, the exterior of the building avoids the trendy ironwork of today’s structures and instead blends seamlessly into it’s surroundings in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Clean, simple lines accentuate the beauty of instead the natural environment around it, and blend well with the porch and the field.

Site Plan

The site plan below highlights both the ideal sections for the main floor’s layout, as well as thinking through the traffic flow of both cars and pedestrians. The community center will also face the east, towards the river (which runs north-south), allowing for an ideal view from both the seating and the porch angles.

Site plan.

Floor Plans

Once I developed the site plan, I moved into rough sketches of my different possible floor plans for my main floor and my rooftop area. I had a certain series of client-needs to meet, which I combined with the site plans in order to develop my final floor plans for my main floor and my rooftop floor.

Oriented so porch social space faces river (see Site Plan).

For my main floor, client needs included a connection to nature and natural light, a food and drink service area, a combination of community, group, and personal seating, and handicap access. I situated the main entrance of the main floor towards the front left corner of the building for accessibility to the service line upon arrival, as well as to prevent any disruption in the large windows that line the front wall.

With bar seating lining these large windows, even those inside are able to enjoy nature and the benefits and beauty of the natural light flooding the space. These windows also face the large open field and wide river that flows in front of the community center. As well as highlighting the beauty of our environment, the center’s purpose is to bring connection between members of our community. In order to facilitate that connection, the central area of the main room is geared towards large community sized tables where strangers can meet, as well as group seating for collaboration on work or school.

I separated the personal work space on a wing that allows inclusiveness but separates a bit of the noise, still highlighting the natural light with full windows. The porch provides a more social aspect of the floor, outfitted with lounge furniture that community members can spend hours enjoying the outdoors, as well as safely watching their children play. An elevator allows handicap access from the ground level to the rooftop, and a storage closet behind it allows for organization and food storage.

Taking the elevator up to the rooftop level, two spheres of space usage exist as either a community social space, or to be rented out for large group events. In blue, we see an outdoor covered community seating area, able to fit a long table for dinner events or provide a lazy day lounge in a rain storm. The storage area included in the covered space allows for storage of additional or exchangeable furniture depending on the space usage. The uncovered area provides excess space for a variety of seating, including hightop tables for an evening event or lounge seating for a comfortable spring afternoon. The rooftop lounge is a handicap accessible space that allows for community gathering and a possible revenue as an evening space to go towards the maintenance of this public space.


Materials for Chattahoochee Community Center.


Finally, I developed the exterior of the Chattahoochee Community Center in accordance with both the client and community needs and the environment around it. As seen above in the material selection, I tried to allow as much natural light as possible with the windows and railings, while maintaining a low profile and natural shape that would complement the environment instead of overpowering it.

Perspective 1 – Southeast view.
Perspective 2: Northeast view.
Perspective 3: South View.

Please leave comments about anything you think would help me develop my project further.

Here is a link to my fuller project and references used to support my work. Thank you for reading.

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