Retreat in Sweetwater Creek State Park, Georgia

Retreat in Sweetwater Creek State Park, Georgia

Daylight in buildings - Region 3: The Americas

Xinyan Li

Mark Cottle

Georgia Institute of Technology

United States

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The project is to design a comfortable and easeful retreat. This retreat, run by the Georgia State Division of Parks and Historic Sites, will be located in Sweetwater Creek State Park, in Lithia Springs, sited on the eastern side of Sweetwater Creek, overlooking the ruins of the old mill. The path to the retreat is also designed to be accessible (as the orange pathway shows on the site map and the black pathway shows the existed pathway in the park). The design concept is to create a building where the ground floor orients to follow the topography, that is, perpendicular to the contour line; as the floor goes up, the building’s orientation follows the old mill to create an echo. The building provides accommodations for twelve individuals. Every unit provides more than one view and the opportunity for natural daylight from more than one direction. In particular, every unit has a special open sky atrium in the bathing space. This space could serve as a meditation space for people to both look up to the sky and look at the outside forest. Moreover, the atrium provides plenty of daylight to each room. There are no elevators, but all spaces are accessible through ramps, which helps wheelchairs to access. Like the historic mill ruins across the creek, the building will be made of load-bearing brick walls, together with wood framing. Some of the square atriums extend down into the land to form structural support, which looks like columns but is made of the brick wall.