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National Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking of New United States Federal Courthouse in Downtown Nashville

Design Blends Classical and Contemporary to Symbolize the Past and Future of Nashville, the Seventh Fastest-Growing City in America in 2018

Denver, Colorado, Sept. 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Nashville U.S. Courthouse in a dedication Ceremony on Friday, September 28. Fentress Architects, in a bridging design-build contract with Hensel Phelps Construction Company, will advance and refine the original design by Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create a distinctive courthouse that expresses the dignity and transparency of the judicial process. Upon completion in Spring 2021, the $194.5 million new U.S. Federal Courthouse will successfully consolidate the footprint of the court and court-related tenant agencies, while boasting a stately presence in downtown Nashville’s ever-changing urban context.

The six-story, 276,000-square-foot Courthouse is sited on more than three acres on Church Street in downtown Nashville. It will include underground parking, eight courtrooms, 11 chambers, and is targeted to meet LEED Gold Certification. The site will accommodate the 30-year needs of the court, responding to downtown Nashville’s significant growth in new development. Consolidating important judiciary functions into one location, the new U.S. Courthouse will relocate the courts and court-related agencies from the existing facilities located in the Estes Kefauver Federal Building and Annex, improving efficiency and enhancing security for court personnel and the general public.

The Courthouse’s design is a testament to Michael Graves’ architectural legacy as a leader in Postmodernism—seamlessly blending classical and contemporary design to symbolize the past and future of downtown Nashville.  Clad in all white to express the grandeur of the federal judiciary, the building will stand out as an important institution in its urban context. Façades for the entry and public areas of the building will be glass to celebrate the openness and transparency of the United States’ democracy and judicial system. The primary façade is a grand apsidal curved wall with the entry rotunda at its center, establishing a welcoming entry for the public. Celebrating the role of the public in the judicial system, jury suites will be stacked as towers in the exterior massing.

The Nashville U.S. Federal Courthouse is part of Fentress’ growing portfolio of distinguished courthouse design across the United States and abroad, including the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, Kansas (Expected 2021), Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. U.S. Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (2006), the Norfolk Courts Complex in Norfolk, Virginia (2013), the 1.36 million square foot Al-Farwania & Al-Jahra Court Complex in Kuwait City, Kuwait (2014), and the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, California (2016).

In addition to this project, Fentress Architects is serving as the executive architect for the Denver Art Museum renovation and expansion currently underway. Working in collaboration with lead designers Machado Silvetti, the capital project will re-utilize the iconic Gio Ponti-designed building while creating a unified cultural experience across all of the institution’s facilities in Denver’s civic center.

Client  U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
Architect  Fentress Architects (Architect of Record), Michael Graves Thomas Miller Partners Joint Venture (Lead Designer) 
Contractor  Hensel Phelps Construction Company 
Location  Nashville, Tennessee 
Program  8 Courtrooms, 11 Chambers, Underground Parking 
Area  280,000 gross square feet 
Status  Under Construction, Expected Spring 2021 
Sustainability Targeting LEED Gold

Rendering of new U.S. Federal Courthouse in Nashville.



About Fentress Architects

Fentress Architects is a global design firm that passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture. Together with its clients, Fentress creates inspired design to improve the human environment. Founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980, the firm has designed $42 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by more than 650 million people each year. Fentress is a dynamic learning organization, driven to grow its ability to design, innovate and exceed client expectations. The firm has been honored with more than 550 distinctions for design excellence and innovation.



Cassidy Humphrey
Fentress Architects

John Patrick