Fifth + Broadway Music City Multi-Use

  • LOCATION Nashville, Tennessee
  • CLIENT Skanska

Screen Walls are becoming ubiquitous on parking garages. Naked stacks of concrete slabs lined with cars are becoming rare in new construction, and even many older decks are having screens retrofitted to improve their curb appeal. This spectacular Nashville property is no exception.

Fifth + Broadway is a mixed-use development in the heart of Nashville. The property consists of a 34-story, 386-unit, residential tower; a 25-story tower with 385,000 square feet of class-A office space; over a quarter of a million square feet of restaurants, entertainment, and retail space, and covered parking for more than 2000 vehicles. Additionally, it is home to Nashville’s first food hall and the long anticipated National Museum of African American Music.

A Live, Work, and Play Development, With the Emphasis on Play

The site is the new heart of Music City. Situated across from the Bridgestone Arena in one direction, and facing the historic Ryman Auditorium in the other, Fifth + Broadway anchors the southwest end of the Honky Tonk Highway, which continues up Broadway from there to the riverfront. It is a true live, work, and play development, with an emphasis on play.

The property owner/developer was OliverMcMillan and picked the site of the old Nashville Convention Center. That facility was made obsolete when the much larger Music City Center opened down the street in 2013. Gensler’s Los Angeles office handled the architectural design, with Gresham Smith serving as the architect of record. The project was built by Skanska, who say it is the largest project they have ever undertaken in Tennessee, and the largest single-phase mixed-use project built by anyone in Nashville. Skanska, in turn, hired us to build and install 48,000 square feet of decorative parking deck screen wall that spans eight floors of the office tower and at least partially wraps all four sides of the building.

We executed the striking diagonal lines of color envisioned by Gensler in a PPG Duranar finish. This is a high-performance fluoropolymer finish, similar to Kynar 500, using PPG’s proprietary resin blend. Once we bake the finish in a tunnel oven at around 475°, it is extremely durable and color-stable. The panels should still look good in thirty years, even in the sunny south.

The typical panel on the project is 4’ x 10’, and all are break formed into a 19” deep V shape with rolled vertical edges. They are perforated to provide about 23% open space which lets in a surprising amount of light while still appearing solid from the street unless you look closely. Typical passively ventilated parking garages have 50% or more open space, but Nashville has strict ordinances governing how much headlight glare can be seen from outside. This limited the open space allowed and required that the decks at Fifth + Broadway be mechanically ventilated.

Screen Wall Shape Eliminates the Need for Expensive Framing

In most parking deck screen wall installations, there is considerable tube or angle frame to provide the structural rigidity required to withstand expected wind loads. At Fifth + Broadway because of the deep V cross-section and rolled edges of the panels, and our use of heavy 3/16” thick aluminum, no framing was needed. The panels are sufficiently ridged to be structurally stable without it. Even though the shape added material, and the aluminum is 50% thicker than most screen walls, these costs were more than offset by not only the lack of framing material, but also a much faster and simpler installation. We provide Hilti embeds and location drawings to the concrete contractor, and they cast our attachment points right into the concrete of the decks and columns. From there, it was just a matter of adding adjustable brackets and bolting the panels in place.

Fifth + Broadway was a true design-build project for us, and we worked closely with all the principals throughout the project in Los Angeles, our Atlanta offices, and onsite. This was not only to coordinate schedules so the various trades weren’t in one another’s way, but also to help refine the design specifications and produce the best possible product for the client, on time and on budget.

The ability to leverage our particular expertise and engineering skill sets is one of the best services we offer our clients.