Named after a neighborhood native son, the Marvin Gaye Recreation Center is located on the south side of Watts Branch and rises into the tree canopy like a treehouse. The path through the site winds its way up through the building, culminating at the balcony suspended above the stream. Program spaces line the interior path, a gallery honoring the spirit of Marvin Gaye. The facade is shaded by a perforated metal screen colored to match the trees on site.
The vibrant interior environment is created by daylighting strategies. The screen along the second floor gallery and stair controls glare + solar gain while providing dramatic views of the tree canopy and sporting events. High clerestory and north-facing windows reduce energy cost, providing dynamic + diffused light. These multisensory connections to nature promote a connection with the cycle of the day and the changing of the seasons.
This building breathes. When conditions are right, HVAC powers down and the building switches to natural ventilation mode. Automatic dampers open and indicator lights turn green, telling occupants to open the windows. The building breathes in cool, fresh air and breathes out warm, stale air. This LEED Gold facility provides instantaneous flow of fresh air and a lifelong payback on energy bills.
The community center is built as a resource for all and a refuge in times of trouble. In the face of emergencies, this resilient building withstands floods and power outages. The center accommodates community gatherings and fitness programs to build resilience within communities and to promote the District’s mission for health, conservation, and universal access to parks.