Memphis-based architecture firm archimania designed an extension to a historic governor’s mansion in Nashville, Tennessee, by creating an "unbuilding"- a sunken courtyard structure that adds extra without marring the landscape or existing architecture. Instead of building a new structure next to the existing residence, the architects decided to go underground, and the final result is an invisible addition that looks elegant and blends into the natural surroundings.
The sunken courtyard receives an abundance of natural light and is filled with greenery. It is surrounded by 15,000 square feet of meeting, dining and event spaces. The courtyard itself can be used as an additional venue space that also plays an important role in the energy-efficiency of the building.
The entry and main hall are clad in oak salvaged from the Tennessee River and neighboring areas. In addition to the oak, the architects used a large amount of recycled materials and components, and introduced dry polished concrete floors to increase affordability and lower the maintenance costs.
Photos by David Sundberg/ESTO