83 Freight

Nashville, Tenn.

Award of Merit, Residential/Hospitality

Submitted By: Smith Gee Studio

Owner: FMBC Investments

Lead Design Firm: Smith Gee Studio

General Contractor: Capital City Construction

Civil Engineer: TTL/DBS & Associates Engineering

Structural Engineer: Structural Affiliates International

MEP Engineer: Krell Engineering

Landscape Architect: Heibert + Ball Land Design

Subcontractors: Quietly Making Noise

With 173 stacked, rotated and offset shipping containers, 83 Freight is bringing new options to Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston industrial neighborhood, honoring the city’s working past while nodding to its growing maker and artisan community.

Those reused shipping containers make 83 residential units, ranging from micro-studios to one- and two-bedroom flats. The project was an experiment, with architects, engineers and contractors coming together to devise a new construction technique and process from sourcing containers domestically to the site itself, which presented the first challenge: a large sinkhole in one corner.

The sinkhole, as well as substantial soil heaps existing on the site, required more than 300 micro-pile foundations across the site which had to be driven to bedrock depth, including some to almost 90 feet below grade. Another challenge was lay-down room given the size of the shipping containers that crews were working with, making the scheduling of fabrication and receipt critical.

Working through the lack of existing approved assemblies, maintaining structural integrity, thermal insulation and vertical alignment led the project team to essentially rethink every common design and construction practice, resulting in an archetype for environmentally responsible, high-density residential construction.

The pioneering project used ingenuity and creativity to embrace and showcase not only its construction methodology, but its community.