Music City Center

New construction: Music City Center; I. C. Thomasson Associates Inc.


Music City Center’s green roof is shown. (Click to enlarge)Project name: Music City Center

Location: Nashville, Tenn.

Firm name: I. C. Thomasson Associates Inc.

Project type, building type: New construction, retail

Project duration: 3 years

Project completion date: April 30, 2013

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $102 million

Engineering challenges

To achieve the government of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County’s requirement for U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver, the systems needed to operate using 20% less energy than ASHRAE standards. The architectural team chose to utilize glazing and open spaces to maximize the downtown panoramas. Additionally, the project was serviced by the centralized utility system for chilled water and steam, and the reduction in energy consumption could not occur through the selection and operation of central plant equipment. Another challenge was to ventilate two city streets that pass under the project and will be utilized for vehicular traffic, one street for public automobiles and mass transit, the other street for heavy transportation equipment to supply the needs of the adjacent Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators.


To achieve the energy consumption requirement and to ensure the comfort required by the building and its occupants, the design utilized the building’s geometry. The exhibit halls and main public concourses are 40 to 50 ft in height. The occupants only occupy the lower 10 ft of that height. The design team chose to not temper the air above 20 ft and allow natural currents driven by the temperature grading to stratify the air above that height, thus reducing the volume of air requiring cooling. The design of the tunnel exhaust system utilized over-excavated wells from the shoring of the tunnel structural walls to route the exhaust air to street level, where it is discharged safely to outside. The same excavated wells for the structural shoring are used to route makeup or fresh air to the tunnels. This design allowed for the required air to be exchanged without affecting the architectural design by using pathway already required to install the structural system.

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