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City of Athens Cain Center


The City of Athens Cain Center includes the renovation to an existing recreation and aquatics center and is defined by assets it already had in place.

The project renovated the 49,000-square-foot existing recreation and aquatics center, covering a mix of indoor and outdoor amenities including competitive swim lanes, kids play area, therapy/workout area, locker rooms, snack bar, shade structures. Interior renovations include a 9,000-square-foot event space, commercial kitchen, fitness center, racquetball court, basketball court, and offices for the City’s Parks, Recreation, and Culture Department.

The project has a beautiful exposition of expressive wood ceilings, pinpoint connection space frame trusses in the pool and gym areas, as well as exposed glulam beams in other major public portions of the building; all of which were cleaned up and restored. The large, punctured clerestory windows cascade light along the masonry walls that run the length of the expansive vertical space. Each of these had waned over time, and the design team prioritized reinstalling their inherent richness as the main means of invigorating the project. The wood was re-stained, space frames and masonry walls repainted, and to compliment those elements, the pool was retiled to amplify the gleam of the expanse of light pouring into the space.

Complimentary elements that included installing noise reduction acoustic panels as well as colorful eclectic furniture installations amplify the midcentury character the building possesses, each acting to absorb sound reverberating off the many hard surfaces to create a more pleasant acoustic experience. 

There was a strong balance of restoration efforts versus replacement, where the design team looked to salvage the terra cotta colored tile patterns, holding their place in time, but modernized and fully renovated areas including the workout spaces for a more modern and hygienic feel to improve the quality of the overall building experience.   

Features include:

  1. Mixed-use public fitness, recreation, and aquatics center

  2. Balance of renovated versus replaced spaces and elements

  3. Colorful and eclectic furniture complimenting the original midcentury character

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