Hi! My name is Lauren Bernard, and I’m a junior at The Lovett School in Atlanta. This is my first architecture course, and its been a great opportunity to try something new. I love the outdoors and being involved with my community, whether that be going out to local restaurants or visiting city parks. One of my favorite places to go is the Atlanta BeltLine, which is the site location for my Catalyst Project.
The Atlanta Beltline is an impressive and sustainable 22 mile walking loop that connects 45 in town neighborhoods through the multi-use of streetcars, trails, and parks that are based on original railroad corridors that surround Atlanta. I have been to the BeltLine many times whether on my own or with my school, but I have noticed that, despite having metal benches placed along the trail every so often, there is not a place that can be considered a rest stop where runners and bikers can take a break to cool down or have protection from the elements since the trail is entirely outdoors.
The implementation of a rest stop that can be placed at various points along the trail will greatly benefit the users of the BeltLine. The main focus of this project is to encourage more people from all age groups to use the trail while improving their health and well-being; this connects with the third UN Sustainable Goal to ensure healthy lives and promote use for all ages and well-being. The rest stop will motivate people other than the stereotypical fitness runner to take advantage of and use the BeltLine through its multifaceted potential. It will act as a shelter for BeltLine users from unpredictable weather since there is no accessible place to take cover on the current trail, provide shade from the sun, and give BeltLine users the opportunity to have a place where they can fill up water bottles or grab a snack. The BeltLine is a means of movement that encourages sustainability and wellness, but the rest stop will facilitate a much needed pause to the constant motion of the BeltLine.
Explanation of Design
My design consists of a 16 feet by 14 feet structure at an elevation of 1 foot with a concrete foundation. Glass walls surround the structure on three sides with a concrete graffiti wall on the back side. The roof the structure has solar panels to generate the electricity needed. It is slanted towards the South to ensure that optimal amounts of sunlight are being captured throughout the day. A sliding glass barn door ensures easy access to the structure, and a ramp leading up to the door enables all people to enter the Rest Stop.
How the Rest Stop’s Design is Complementary to the Community
The Rest Stop is completely sustainable with solar panels on the roof that provide the structure with its needed energy. Because the BeltLine is known for its graffiti by community members, I have decided to incorporate a graffiti wall to my structure where artists will be allowed to paint designs of their choosing. The Rest Stop will also encourage more people to use the BeltLine and interact with their community by having high school students from surrounding neighborhoods work at the snack bar inside the Rest Stop.
How You Can Become Involved!
If you are local to Atlanta or near the area, make sure to stop by and enjoy the benefits of the BeltLine. If you feel inspired by my project, please feel free to reach out to the Atlanta BeltLine Board of Directors and express your support for this project to be implemented!
The Design Process
There are currently no places for BeltLine users to rest or recharge along the trail, forcing them to go inside a restaurant to order a drink or use the bathroom. But there is lots of open space nearby the trail where Rest Stops could be built.
My chosen site is en example of what other sites will look like. This one has flat ground with grass directly next to trail. Buildings and apartments are behind these open areas, but they are not too close to the site area where privacy would be an issue. The designated site area measures long distances of feet lengthwise and about 16 feet in depth.
This is an overhead picture of my chosen site, explaining where the structure is located and how it fits in with the surrounding buildings.
I wanted to capture the colorful and energetic vibe that Atlanta has through its graffiti and use of art seen in the architecture of surrounding buildings near the BeltLine