Press Release from Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration, March 10, 2010:
Program Will Focus On Restoration Of The Residence, Design Of Conservation Hall
NASHVILLE – Members of the Tennessee Society of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will have the opportunity to earn professional development credits for a program focused on the restoration of the Tennessee Residence and the design and construction of Conservation Hall on Wednesday, March 24. Participants will gain three hours of AIA continuing education system (CES) units relating to health, safety and/or welfare (HSW).
The Tennessee Residence, located in Nashville, was originally called “Far Hills” because of its beautiful view. The home was built for the William Ridley Wills Family in 1929. Wills was the founder of National Life and Accident Insurance Company and his success is displayed in the home’s structural grandeur. It became the third residence for Tennessee’s governors when the state purchased it after Mr. Wills’ death in 1949. Eight former governors and their families have since resided in the home.
Decades of playing host to the affairs of state and civic organizations and the passing of time took their toll on the Residence. Numerous inadequate, failed or failing systems and building components had plagued the home for many years. Heating and cooling systems used long-outdated refrigerants containing chlorofluorocarbons, lead-based pain peeled from window sills, walls and ceilings, and the 1930s era Georgian home, built before the Americans with Disabilities Act, was not ADA-compliant.
When Phil Bredesen became Governor in 2003, he and First Lady Andrea Conte saw an opportunity to allow for the extensive restoration project. They challenged state architects to make the historic home as green as possible and to address the long-recognized need for additional functionality to host larger groups.
Today, the home has been renovated and restored using sustainable design and construction to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. ADA-compliant restrooms and elevators have been installed, as well as a wheelchair ramp that blends seamlessly into the home’s exterior.
Functionality was added with the underground addition named Conservation Hall. Previously, state dinners for more than 22 people could not be accommodated inside the home. Conservation Hall accommodates up to 160 people for a seated function. The facility’s design honors the historical significance of the Residence, preserving its neighborhood setting and conserving natural resources. Its underground construction uses the natural insulating properties of the earth to contribute to low-cost operation while an atrium fills the facility with natural light.
AIA members interested in attending the March 24 professional development program may contact the AIA Tennessee Society at 615-255-3860 or visit the AIA-TN Web site to register.