Outdoor Chattanooga Center / Artech


Architect: Artech
Location: Chattanooga, TN,
Client: City of Chattanooga / Outdoor Chattanooga
Project Architect: Tim Burney
Project Designer: Steven Brown
Design Team: Tim Burney, Steven Brown, David Patty, Keith McCallie & Kelly Fitzgerald
General Contractor: Palmertree Construction
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 557 sqm
Photographs: Walker Scott Moore

04exteriorentry-canopy 05exterior-openstoriver 09interior-towardsfront 10mobilefrontdesk

Outdoor Chattanooga is a division of the City of Chattanooga Parks & Recreation Department, aimed at promoting outdoor recreation as a signature lifestyle for the city of Chattanooga. In order to facilitate the organization’s growth, a site near the Tennessee River was selected for it’s central location to many of the city’s outdoor amenities.

building before renovation
building before renovation


A vacant CMU block building located along the Tennessee River and adjacent to Coolidge Park, a popular outdoor destination, was selected as the site. The original block shell and concrete floor, along with the existing steel bar joists were salvaged and re-used. The new roof design takes cues from outdoor shelters and engages the old building to create a clerestory with wood trusses. This allows the space to be lit by daylight even on overcast days. The sloped roof collects rainwater in an internal gutter system that is moved to a cistern. This water is used for irrigation, flushing toilets and supplies the hose bibs for washing boats & bicycles. The flat roof is covered in a green-roof system that lowers the heat island effect and decreases the overall impervious area. The green-roof, ivy clad screen walls, and preserved lawn allows for more than 80% of the site to be covered by lush living material.


The central display area, conference room and classroom all have insulated glass garage doors that allow natural light in the winter or the flexibility to open up completely in the Spring and Fall for fresh air and events. These overhead doors allow employees to easily bring in outdoor gear & equipment- including boats and bikes. All windows have at least one operable portion to allow users access outside air. Recycled, renewable, and local materials were used throughout the project. The front desk is designed on casters so that it can be moved around the space to properly suit the event. The patchwork custom MDF panels are installed along the interior eastern wall. This design allows the users the flexibility to hang kayaks, canoes, bikes or a climbing wall. When one panel is damaged it can be easily replaced without disturbing the rest of the wall. The facility was designed with the goal of LEED Silver Certification.

Cite: "Outdoor Chattanooga Center / Artech" 08 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=31200>
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  • http://www.structurehub.com/blog StructureHub Blog

    Good part: re-purposed most of the original structure’s outer envelope. Using metal siding that wraps from the roof down onto the walls was a clever/simple way to drastically alter the form of that envelope without doing some major surgery.

    My only wish is that the redo had more color. I’m fine with the color of the metal siding, but the concrete block still looks as drab as it did before (and will even more so in the winter months). Not bad though, not bad indeed.

  • Eric

    Great for chatanooga. Not worth Archdaily.