Tennessee State Library and Archives


Award of Merit

CONTRACTOR: Turner Construction Co.

OWNER: State of Tennessee



CIVIL ENGINEER: Barge Cauthen & Associates Inc.

MEP ENGINEER: I.C. Thomasson Associates Inc.

This stunning five-story repository for Tennessee’s collection of books and public/historic records replaces the oldest archives building in the nation and includes three stories dedicated to the library and archives, one level of below-grade parking and a single-story mechanical penthouse. 

Located within Nashville’s Bicentennial Park, the facility features a grand reading room, a library for the blind and physically disabled, exhibit space as well as classroom and teaching space. The building also features an automated storage and retrieval system. Usually located on the ground level or recessed into the ground, the system was instead constructed on the second level of the library.

Notably, roughly seven months before the original substantial completion target, the project suffered a direct hit from a Category 4 tornado. The cyclone’s impact—which resulted in a $6-million insurance claim and added five months to the project’s completion—necessitated complete replacement of the roof as well as extensive repairs and replacement of exterior finish items. After clearing the entire building’s exterior of mud from the storm, the team discovered a significant number of cracks, dents and chips on the facade as well as on the windows. Chipped or cracked windows had to be replaced while chipped stone, depending on the severity, could be repaired, whereas cracked stone had to be replaced due to safety concerns.