Architect + Daughter and a backyard = Playhouse.
My daughter’s building program seemed simple. She requested a playhouse with a door and window. I decided that it should also be simple to build, favor the use of hand tools and provide for two major image considerations. First, to be viewed as an interesting folly from our back patio and second, to have a bit of a treehouse character.
Typical design and illustration techniques were used to review the design with the “client”. I built a series of study models to get the desired look and then using digital photography superimposed a photo of the model on the backyard. The glowing effect of a lantern was important to me in support of the interesting view from patio idea and the model (and a flashlight) allowed us to approximate the appearance of that image.
Tooni Art bArn, Blue Ridge GA – 2019
Conceptual Study for a 6 studio artist retreat on the Toccoa River
We developed a barn-like concept for a building to contain artist studios and temporary housing on a beautiful property in North Georgia. The bArn was to be located at the edge of the forest and fields with parking (inconveniently) located around the bend. All exposures have great views with the ‘rear’ overlooking a creek and pond. The dining porch is oriented to the Toccoa River and even more views.
Athens Academy New Middle School and Athletic Field House – 2020
Combined Construction Cost $7 – $8 M
Construction documents were completed in January 2020 with construction anticipated to begin early summer 2020. The Middle School ‘fronts’ on the existing academic quad with the entry feature of a large covered porch which is integrated into the existing covered walkway system.
The north wing is two stories with the lower floor containing flexible space for meeting, collaboration and club use. The building is planned to support a future expansion and renovation into the Daughtry Building.
The two-story Farmer Fieldhouse is located just off the west end zone. The layout is organized such that both levels are accessed ‘on-grade’. The upper level contains the football locker rooms / support spaces as well as a large conference room overlooking the field.
The lower level contains separate locker rooms for Girls Soccer, Girls CC/Track and Boys CC/Track. In addition this level contains the concession area and visitors toilets.
Temple Sinai Renovation, Atlanta GA – 2019
$4M Completed 2019
Akard Architecture teamed with Hendrick, a talented Atlanta interior design firm, for a major renovation to Temple Sinai in Atlanta. The owner brief was to provide a more open, flexible and warm entry, lobby and Sanctuary. The A+ scope involved predominately the exterior entry and drop off area, the lobby transition to the sanctuary and the sanctuary improvements.
Many of the improvements addressed ‘inclusion’ in the form of improved accessibility, improved lighting that now allows text to be read in the sanctuary, and the installation of a hearing loop in all the public spaces. The exterior concept involved providing a swooshing canopy that connected the drop-off lane to the building front doors. The canopy was integrated into the ramp shape and features welcoming religious texts. Wansley Landscape Architects collaborated on the design.
The existing sanctuary had very strong geometries that we reinforced with the new shape of the welcoming stairs at the bima. Warm wood paneling was installed flanking the bima and used for the other big move in the sanctuary – the creation of two story door portal featuring the former cast bronze doors to the building.
Westminster Clarkson Classroom Corridor, Atlanta GA – 2018
At Westminster, Akard Architecture and Linda Rathje were retained to support a transformation of an eight Classroom corridor in the Clarkson Building. The existing institutional corridor with ‘siloed classrooms’ was renovated to provide for an active and transparent hall with open connections to the classrooms. Carpet and light fixture layouts and selections support the alternating functions between informal meeting and display.
Chambers Administration Building at Athens Academy – 2017
Completed 2017, $2.8M
Akard Architecture was the architect-of-record for the Peter Norris designed Chambers Administration Building at Athens Academy. We collaborated with Peter on the design development and construction documents for the two story building.
The selected site was a former parking lot overlooking the lake. A planned Middle school expansion will now be possible on the former location of the Administration Building at the academic heart of the campus. (Oh, and visitors can now find the Administration Building.)
One design feature is the transparency of the entry to the lake beyond. The reception area is open to the stair and to the glazed wall of the main conference room and then on to the porch and the lake. The conference room serves many student uses including what looked to be an embarrassing ballroom dancing class.
The business offices are upstairs. Downstairs is mail, shipping, facilities department, storage and fundraising, all benched into the hillside and open to the lake.
Rathje / Lawton River Cabin, Soperton GA – 2014
I had an idea for using shipping containers in a way that would add to the security of a remote site on the river. One of the containers includes the entry to the stair access to the first elevated level where the stair then wraps around the container (and bedroom) to access the third floor. The towers form a treehouse feel of open and closed spaces among the pine trees.
The pair of containers is separated by 16’ to provide for series of outdoor living area – both screened and open for breeze and views. Minimum site development would be required for foundations and for the guy-wiring of the two towers.
GSU Georgia Health Policy Center – 2015
30,000 sf in 55 Park Place, Atlanta GA
The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) is a research center within Georgia State University. They provide evidence-based research, program development and policy guidance on local, state and national levels to improve health status at the community level. In 2013 they were identified as the first GSU department within the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies to move to the former Georgia-Pacific Plaza, a 19-story commercial office building which had recently been acquired by the university.
The team of Akard Architecture and Linda L. Rathje Interior Design was tasked with programming the needs of GHPC and providing space planning, design and construction services to accommodate their requirements, with minimal physical changes to the existing 30,000 SF floor plan previously built-out to provide a high concentration of offices and other closed spaces. The existing layout was a “maze” of circulation. The only daylight view shared with open space was at the end of a long deep former bullpen area, centrally located and dividing the floor in half.
GHPC challenged the design team to provide a lay out that would facilitate the collaborative process, and to design space in a way to transfer knowledge. In order to assist the client in defining the number and types of spaces that would best facilitate their work, the design team put together an illustrative document defining various types of collaboration and arranged for a tour of a corporate office that utilized a collaborative environment for their work.
Central to the success of the project, the A+ team developed a concept which included opening up some of the perimeter offices that were located at the terminus of corridors to promote way finding and improve the interior environment by introducing daylight.
A+ recognized the potential for the central bullpen area to be transformed as a collaboration avenue and the new “heart” of the office. New furniture groupings are arranged to break up long sight lines and provide small clustered groupings for a variety of semi-private to more interactive meetings and breakout sessions. Carpet tile pattern has been used to provide visual energy and encourage flow in and out of groups. The new Boulevard now terminates in a social lounge commons for informal gatherings. Accent colors punctuate the space and define where corridors lead to office areas. Overall the space remains open and airy.
Make-A-Wish Cabin – 2014
Pro bono effort with New South Construction
Following is excerpted from a New South Press Release.
Through the partnership of New South Construction in partnership with Make-A-Wish GA, we’ve decided to grant the wish of a very special young lady named Kayla. Twelve-year-old Kayla, who lives in Powder Springs, suffers from a brain tumor. She is one glitzy chick who loves her dogs, drawing, and riding her horse. When she was approached by MAW, Kayla’s one wish was to have a barn themed tree house. In April, New South will help to make Kayla’s wish come true with the help of you all. I’d like to especially thank Andy Akard with Akard Architecture who has already completed the design of her tree house – complete with a front porch, landscaping and escape slide!
Emory Presidential Complex Renovation, Atlanta GA – 2010
311 Beds, 70,000 SF, $2.5M
A+ teamed with two other designers, Jay Wansley Landscape and Linda Rathje Interiors, to work on the renovations for one of the existing residence halls at Emory. The project had a very fast design schedule of 8 weeks from the start to negotiated contractor GMP. The scope is paint and new carpet throughout along with complete toilet room renovation, courtyard improvements and entry area canopies and associated site improvements. The first floor of one wing has been renovated as the main gathering space for the complex.
We received a great compliment from the Emory project manager as follows:
‘VERY nice work of Andy & all the team. Quite amazing when we consider the project design schedule – it did require extreme attention in a condensed amount of time. Also, it was probably the easiest GMP reconciliation I have ever participated in’ Julie Moran, AIA, LEED®AP
$360K Project Cost including FFE
At Oxford College, A+ provided architectural support for a library renovation. The project involved consolidating one floor of stacks into a single bay of compact shelving. The ‘new space’ is to be used for informal classroom and collaborative spaces. A significant component of this idea is to test collaborative space design in preparation for the future design of their new library.
We received a great comment from the Emory project manager as follows:
‘The Oxford Library project has turned out amazing. You should be very proud of a job well done. The project serves as a terrific example of how a relatively modest budget can be used to transform a space and make it fresh and relevant. The library staff and Oxford community are thrilled with the results and I am confident the students will love it when they get to campus in the next couple of weeks. Congratulations on the completion of such a successful project.”
Mr. Stuart Adler, AIA , Director, Emory Design and Construction
Oxford Library Architectural Concept Study, Oxford GA
19,230 SF Renovated, 10,200 SF New $6 M
After the successful renovation of one floor of the existing library, Emory decided to study the cost and programmatic benefit of a full renovation and an addition to the existing library. The feasibility study was completed in January 2011.
The goal was to study an addition that will help to unify the appearance of the west end of the historic quad, to provide for a new front door to the library and to add needed program area.
Basilica of Sacred Heart Renovations, Atlanta GA – 2012
20,000 SF Renovated, 1,500 SF New $2.5 M
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus embarked on a project to upgrade their Parish Hall and first floor educational facilities as well as other selected improvements within the Rectory building. Key to the successful reorientation of the north classrooms is the enclosure of the existing courtyard with a skylight. This 15’ x 85’ space between Church and Rectory building is enclosed at the classroom level. Vertically, the skylight is located just below the Sanctuary windows. It slopes away from the church toward the Rectory. The skylight is designed to be predominately supported on the Rectory and to “lightly touch” the historic Church.
We received a great compliment from a member of the building committee as follows:
“…It’s unusual to find an architect who is very creative in design but is equally strong in the practical applications for quality and economic construction….. Also one of the best architects I have dealt with in developing the needs of your customer. “ Arthur Brannon—Brannon Development Co.
$1.6 M Study completed October 2011
Cannon Chapel was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Paul Rudolph, son of one of the Candler School of Theology’s first graduates. Ground was broken for the chapel in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter and consecrated on September 30, 1981. A+ was hired to evaluate the proper method of adding worship, presentation, and teaching technology to the Chapel as well as to improve the facilities for use for other campus religious groups – notably Ablution Rooms for the student Muslim population.
Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta – 2012
$750,000 Renovation complete November 2012
A+ and Linda Rathje Interiors are helping SLCA with the current and future improvements to their new ‘home’ at 1730 NE Expressway. The first phase renovation will be complete summer 2012. This phase involves office and assembly renovations to the existing two story office building. Next is the construction of a 550 seat assembly area and expanded educational facilities scheduled for completion in 2014.
We are very pleased to have our contribution recognized as follows:
“Andy has been a patient listener and creative partner and steward throughout SLCA’s quest to develop our first owned facility and realize our community’s long-held dream. Our Building Action Group benefited from his dedication to our mission and his thoughtful counsel. I’m certain our members, visitors, staff and board will be pleased with the results.” -Tom Woodward, architect and chair, SLCA Building Action Group
Red Bird – 2011
$200 – Birdhouse designed and built in collaboration with Buck Cunningham for the 2011 fundraising auction for Architecture for Humanity.