Georgia Institute of Technology Campus Recreation Center Renovation and Expansion

Atlanta, GA
Construction Cost: $37.25 million (rec center), $3 million (garage)
Area / Square Feet: 300,000
Occupancy Date: August 2004

The team designing the renovation and addition to Georgia Tech’s Campus Recreation Center were faced with three key obstacles: One, it had to conceive a reuse of the 1996 Olympic aquatic venue occupying the very tight site. Two, in doing so, the design team could not demolish the venue’s towering roof structure, atop which are solar panels being used in a 25-year research project. Finally, the completed project needed to complement the surrounding campus architecture.

In the end, this cutting-edge student gathering space retained the pool shell, which was converted into a state-of-the- art natatorium. Above this space, a 175-foot continuous floor span — a structural engineering marvel in itself — was inserted to accommodate 60,000 square feet of gymnasium and multipurpose space. The original curved roof remained intact and now serves as the facility’s most distinctive feature, providing inspiration for a new main entry — the favorite feature of one panelist.

Primary exterior materials of brick, stone, metal panels and glass are compatible with nearby modern academic buildings, yet they also mimic more traditionally styled student housing structures.

Judge's Comments

A technically innovative solution using the existing structure as the basis for new construction.
— Art Bodwell

A highly complex transformation that creates a bold and dramatic natatorium space.
— Darryl Condon

The fitness room takes advantage of the lofty height, giving it a dramatic and spacious feel.
— Anita Moran