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Winning design announced for pavilion along Beltline's Westside Trail

Washington, D.C. architects win competition to envision Adair Park performance space along under-construction trail

Architects and local leaders gathered Thursday in Piedmont Park to get a glimpse of the prize-winning concept design for a permanent performance space along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail in Adair Park.
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?The winning design pays homage to the community’s past as a defunct rail corridor, according to the trio of Washington, D.C. architects who created it.
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?Melody Harclerode, American Institute of Architects Atlanta chapter president, said jurors selected the design of Tim Bragan, Sylvan Miles and Harry Ross because “it was the type of project jurors felt would really fit in with the neighborhood…considering its historical context.”
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?Bragan said he and his partners “recognized that the area is pretty special, and the industrial character of a place like this is the kind of thing that you want to preserve. We also understood the relationship between this area and the Beltline... This a vibrant community with its own character, so it’s an opportunity to accentuate that.”
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?Promoted by AIA and city and Beltline officials, the national competition sought ideas from around the world to design a pavilion on the triangle-shaped piece of land. The pavilion will serve as a gateway to the under-construction path connecting multiple southwest Atlanta neighborhoods from Adair Park to Washington Park.
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?In the AIA-funded competition, a $10,000 prize went to the first place winners. A design firm from Puerto Rico garnered second place and Chasm Architecture of Atlanta got third place. The winners took the stage to accept their awards during Thursday night’s event at Greystone in Piedmont Park.
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?Keynote speaker Paul Morris, ABI's CEO and president, told the crowd of more than 100 that the national pavilion competition echoed an even broader aim in Beltline-area architecture that “doesn’t necessarily rely on classic design, but finds an organic way to tie itself to the land…and, in this case, meets all the programmatic needs of a performance venue.”
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?Performances have been held on temporary stages on a patch of land in Adair Park. Officials asked for pavilion designs of no larger than 600 square feet to be used for artistic performances that would be suitable for community events and would reflect the history of the community.
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?The winning design by Bragan, Miles and Ross includes an amphitheater and surrounding green space that makes use of reclaimed materials such as concrete slabs, light rail and industrial siding.
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?The architect's detailed explanation of the design is pasted after the jump.
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????Site
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?The design approach for this project emerged from the recognition that the existing site — a defunct rail corridor and nearby industrial district slated for redevelopment — has a character and credibility that is often lost in the process of making new places. Concrete and asphalt scarred by decades of industrial operations, rust-streaked siding, wild and opportunistic hedgerows thriving in residual slivers of land, and vestigial topographic traces of past industrial activities all constitute a vocabulary of place that warrants recognition. These evocative landforms and built elements are rarely perceivable or understood as beautiful, but are none the less compelling and vital. Importantly, the site also neighbors a vibrant residential community whose daily rhythms are threatened by the proposed development and activity associated with the completion of the Beltline mixed-use trail.
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? Concept
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?In recognizing these site features as fundamental components of the place, the project seeks to reuse, reinterpret, and redeploy elements of the surrounding landscape to reveal natural and manmade systems, evoke memories of the site that was, and intensify the place it promises to become. The proposal consists of three key components: a newly reconstituted Ground Surface, Pavilion Roof, and series of densely landscaped industrial Hedgerows.
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?Design Elements

?The new ground surface connects and smoothly articulates a transition between the existing Adair Park community and the proposed BeltLine shared use trail, light rail corridor, and new performance space. At the most functional, it seeks to create and improve safety at the intersection between pedestrian, light-rail and automobile traffic by clarifying the relationship between these elements at the Southeast corner of the site. As a material operation, paving elements from surrounding industrial sites are salvaged and redeployed as hardscape or used as fill in the gabion baskets that constitute a critical retaining wall element between the shared use path and new pavilion amphitheater. Sculptural mound elements, derived from industrial spoil piles found on nearby sites, function as a visual buffer that invite both active and passive use while forging a less formal relationship between the community and the Pavilion Park.
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?Drawing from the language and materiality of nearby warehouses and factories (that are likely to become memories in the near future) the large, inflected roof element and associated structure spans the stage and shared use path. The gesture compresses space and views, directing attention to the pavilion and its activities while framing views of the mounded landscape and neighborhood beyond. The surface of the roof employs reused corrugated siding from nearby industrial sites as well as translucent fiberglass panels that allow dappled light to animate activities on the stage below, evoking the scale and materiality associated with the industrial activities and artifacts while providing shade and protection from the elements during performance events. Site lighting will create a luminous plane between the two densely planted edges; the roof structure will offer will be a beacon at a transition point along the Beltline route marking it as a significant and unique event.
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?The design of the stage and associated elements that support performance activities deploy materials similar to those found on adjacent industrial buildings including a mix of both weathered and transparent cladding. As the viewer traverses the site the pavilion roof will shift in appearance: revealing structural elements and appearing diaphanous from one vantage point or solid and object-like from another. The form of the pavilion and associated roof acts as an aperture at a critical node on the site, framing views from either approach and emphasizing events and related activities. The reciprocal nature of the aperture allows for both formal performances with a seated audience and more informal uses such as a market kiosk, community board, and meeting space.
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?Finally, the proposed hedgerow elements leverage the inherent vitality of omnipresent and overgrown but nonetheless compelling thickets of volunteer planting that thrive at the edges of local industrial sites and rail infrastructure. These hyper-dense planted areas align with the critical circulation and infrastructural corridors and provide visual buffers, reduce the dispersion of sound, and articulate key programmatic elements while also providing critical ecosystem services including stormwater infiltration and habitat for native wildlife. 



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