Former Nashville Public Library transformed by an ambitious adaptive reuse strategy

Former Nashville Public Library transformed by an ambitious adaptive reuse strategy

25 Feb 2020 News

In a project undertaken by Hastings Architecture, the beloved former Nashville Public Library has been redesigned to accommodate studio space for the architecture firm itself, along with workspace for other creatives. 

Credit: Eric Laignel

Completed in 1965, the Nashville Public Library was designed by architect Bruce Crabtree and served as a civic anchor in the city for over 35 years until the library function was relocated in 2001 - and the building subsequently fell into disrepair. The building was purchased in 2017 by a partnership team aiming to restore the original structure and transform it into 24,000 square feet of office space.

Credit: Eric Laignel

The building's facade is composed of Georgia Cherokee marble panels and 16' tall glass. All the marble was cleaned, repaired, and/or replaced with new, perfectly matched marble from the original marble quarry. The original terrazzo floor in the lobby was refurbished, as was the terrazzo-clad monumental stair connecting the two main floors. All architectural interventions as part of the adaptive reuse were limited to a black and white colour palette, with walnut accents inspired by the original interiors of the historic structure. 

Credit: Eric Laignel

'It was important that we honor the architect's original intent in our design plans for 225 Polk,' said David Bailey, partner at Hastings. 'We wanted to celebrate the history of the building by restoring as much as we could, and keeping the space open to highlight the original interiors of the building.'

Credit: Eric Laignel

The spirit of the original library auditorium remains intact with The Athenaeum - a 1,500 square foot community room accessible to the public and intended for use by community organizations and non-profit groups located on the first floor off the main lobby. The Athenaeum comfortably seats 100 and has standing room for up to 300 people.

Credit: Eric Laignel

'This structure was built in 1965 to serve the people of Nashville as a public library,' said William Hastings, partner at Hastings. 'It was important that our design ensured that part of this historic building would remain accessible to the public and provide the community with a gathering place.

 

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