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The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee approached Anecdote looking to create an oﬃce space that was uniquely their own, embracing their dedication to the public. Coming from an old dental studio, The Foundation envisioned a new building that would be a welcoming resource to the area, providing a variety of meeting spaces equipped to host all types of events, as well as an expansive private and open oﬃce space buzzing with their own operations. What resulted a symphony of conscious design including the sustainable mass timber system chosen for its innovation, low carbon footprint and biophilic attributes, as well as the warm, residential feel of the exterior to suit the context of the neighborhood.
The Foundation balances a dichotomy of work; a portion of their efforts are very public facing while the other side was quieter, running the internal operations. This contrast informed the geometry of the new building, with a long spine of office space intersecting with the public facing volume. The gabled Board Room appears to open up to the street, inviting in the public, while the north side serves as an entry into the intersection of the two volumes.
The new office building is made up of loadbearing CLT exterior walls and floors & glulam columns and beams. The system’s sustainable attributes supported The Foundation’s mission- to be good stewards of the environment just as they are with the community. Mass timber’s embodied carbon is drastically lower than concrete and steel construction; it is also fabricated off site, reducing emissions at the project site. The exposed wood contributes to biophilic design benefits, helping in enhancing the psychological and physical wellbeing of the building inhabitants.
Due to the varied nature of their work, a collection of diverse meeting spaces making up the public volume was essential to the program of the new facility. The client expressed a need for formal meeting spaces in addition to a residential-type ‘living room’ to house sensitive conversations with their clients.
The three columns that many associate with the Foundation inspired various details, reinforcing their status as a stable, philanthropic pillar in the community. Additionally, the organization collectively resonated with the imagery of a beehive, representing them as a busy collective of individuals working together for the greater good. Much of the bee symbolism subtly translated to the new space through honey-toned and black finishes and honeycomb patterning.
The client expressed the desire for serendipitous interaction amongst the separate office departments. The space created encourages this cross pollination of ideas, by maintaining visual connections between levels, housing open office space that shares natural light and views out and carving out collaborative niches throughout the office. Meticulous coordination of MEP trades was necessary to achieve the polished look the client wanted, while leaving as much of the mass timber wood exposed.
The gabled exterior can be seen playfully extruded through the space, emphasizing the double-height work café on one end, and the executive wing on the other.
The stairs are an emphatic component in the space, serving as a celebrated moment of connection; the hardwood treads were intentionally pulled back to express the unique CLT construction. The integrated metal and wood railing showcase the complexity of coordination needed with mass timber construction.
Mass Timber, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)
Anecdote Architectural Experiences
Architecture & Interior Design
Ross Bryan Associates
Commonwealth Development Group
Minimal Impact Engineering
CLT and glulam installer
Fasteners/ Tools / Envelope
Binderholz Mass Timber
Mass timber supplier