Hastings Architecture
Hastings Architecture

Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, and Sustainability

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225 Polk

This prominent New-Formalist landmark completed in 1965 served as Nashville’s Main Public Library for more than 35 years. After the Main Library was relocated in 2001 the building remained dormant for long periods until private owners purchased it with the intent to restore the original structure and give the building new life as creative office space.

The revitalization of this architectural treasure relied on a fierce commitment to the original design intent. The Georgia Cherokee marble panel façade was cleaned, repaired, and / or replaced with new marble from the original quarry. The original curtainwall frames were left in place, replacing the glass with modern, high-performance glazing. The original terrazzo floor in the lobby was refurbished, as was the terrazzo-clad monumental stair which connects the two main floors.

The interior design creates a workspace that is as open and authentic as possible – original concrete columns, shear walls, and pan-slab floor / ceiling structure were stripped, cleaned, and left exposed to reveal the beauty of the original craftsmanship. Modern architectural intervention, as part of the adaptive reuse, adheres to a strictly black and white color palette to forefront the historic design.  The workspace offers varying degrees of privacy from individual call rooms and focused work space to a large café and open studio. A walnut slat wall – directly inspired by a similar wall in the library’s original auditorium – delineates between public spaces and the studio. Illuminating the history of the building, linear pendant lights run diagonally across the ceiling of the open studio in reference to the book stacks which once ran the same direction.

Nashville, Tennessee
44,000 square feet
225 Polk Avenue Partners, LLC
Chicago Athenaeum Award for American Architecture
AIA Gulf States Honor Award
AIA Tennessee Award of Excellence
AIA Middle Tennessee Merit Award
Architect's Newspaper Best of Design Awards Honorable Mention
Nashville Downtown Partnership Invest Award
The Plan Interiors Finalist
The Plan Renovation Finalist
ULI Nashville Excellence in Development Award
Black and White and Redone all Over (The New York Times, November 2019)225 Polk Avenue (ARCHITECT Magazine, March 2020) 
HASTINGS Architecture Redesigns Former Nashville Public Library (ArchDaily, March 2020)
News & Ideas
Cultural + Civic
Hospitality + Mixed-Use