Artsthrive
conceptual | mixed-use
Atlanta GA, 2022

At the height of the pandemic, Atlanta Artist Relief Fund was founded to connect Atlanta area artists with meals and affordable healthcare. As the pandemic’s impact deepened, so did the organization’s commitment. They needed a space to put everything under one multifaceted roof. This mixed-use cultural center offers a unique blend of arts, healthcare, childcare, and housing services. It is nestled within a city block and accessed from all sides by community members each with unique needs who come together around a central courtyard and garden. It’s a testament to the power of adaptability and the importance of community-focused design.

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The Atlanta Artist Relief fund was started by several theater friends as an emergency food fund to provide resources for fellow struggling artists during the pandemic. As their mission grew, they came to understand that they could not provide food, but they could also connect someone to an affordable healthcare provider, or a daycare. Having these needs met, the artists could then focus more on their own art, and give back to the community. They needed a central location that could more easily provide for these diverse requirements. Artsthrive is a complex mixed use facility that allows users to engage in only the facilities they need at that time, or use the building holistically to address each aspect of the well being. All parts of the building have ample access to light via street and courtyard facing windows as well as translucent clerestory panels in the daycare, healthcare, and makerspace facilities. The theater space maintains its own street presence and connects to the courtyard. The rear wall of the black box theater abuts the amphitheater via a series of operable panels that allow each theater to operate simultaneously or expand to a single theater in the round. The program is woven in such a way that users can easily interact with each other, while each function and operate independently and efficiently.

The project brief required a complex mix of programs within a small 40,000sf area. The goal of the client is to empower Atlanta artists with the tools they need to live, thrive, and create. This included studio and small affordable apartments for artist residencies, small medical offices for physical and mental healthcare, childcare and a secure outdoor space to play, an event space and kitchen to provide for the community, a community garden, and an arts center with a black box theater, an outdoor amphitheater, as well as rehearsal and maker spaces.

The design entwines these various programmes together in a way that appears seamless while allowing each to function efficiently. Each facet of the building program has its own dedicated street facing entry which connects to the central courtyard garden. The black box theater and community center prominently face each side of the block, The childcare and residential lobby entryways frame the West corner, and the healthcare lobby and makerspace loading dock have the most discreet entrances. The apartments elevate to the second floor to provide privacy and views.

 

 

The green roof drapes like a fabric over the required heights of each use, from 12’ ceilings in childcare to 24’ ceilings in the black box theater. The roof is supported by a series of heavy timber posts, glulam beams, and cross laminated timber decking. The building functions as the embodiment of the client’s mission to support and grow the community.

The various programmatic elements required several distinct entryways into the building. Each entry was carefully considered to account for the diverse number of users that would enter. The building is low in scale so as not to overwhelm the surrounding residential areas. The focus is on connecting the community to the services they need in a way that is easily walkable. A full size green roof covers the majority of the building, mitigating the heat island effect and reducing glare on any taller surrounding buildings. The residential rooftop area provides for efficient mechanical equipment and solar power arrays. It’s all a part of Artsthrive’s goal to help the Atlanta artist community flourish.