The historic governor’s mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, was in dire need of an expansion to accommodate the various events hosted on the grounds. To preserve the prominence of the historic residence, archimania designed an “unbuilding,” placing the event and support spaces underground, rather than off to the side of the existing residence.
A glazed sunken courtyard brings natural light and green space into the event venue, 25 feet beneath the rolling front lawn. The final design is a 15,000 square foot meeting and dining facility, complete with event space for 300 guests, an entry mezzanine, green space, food service components, and restrooms.
The entry stair and main hall floors are oak, salvaged from the Tennessee River and nearby barns. A limited palette of materials permitted a high percentage of recycled content to be used, while dry polished concrete floors reduce maintenance costs.
The project honors the Tennessee Residence by framing and supporting it, rather than upstaging it. archimania’s design also upholds former First Lady Andrea Conte’s goal of providing energy-efficient operation with minimal environmental impact.