Access to daylight with blackout shades supports the theatre’s range of uses.
The 678-seat theatre features state-of-the-art acoustical, lighting, rigging and A/V equipment.
An intimate outdoor plaza accommodates gatherings for performances.
Students circulate among the distinct academic, student life, arts, and athletic buildings throughout the day.
GUND master planned and designed the new upper school campus for grades 9-12.
A contemporary expression, grounded in traditional planning roots, gives the new campus a striking sense of permanence and community.
"
 
Performing Arts Theatre, Ensworth School
Nashville, Tennessee
This independent day school planned to develop an entirely separate new upper school campus for grades 9-12. The challenge of siting the extensive program for the new high school campus, together with its related athletic fields, parking and circulation roads, was exacerbated by its historically significant site. The site is located between two seams of development: a rugged mountainside forest on the eastern edge and densely settled residential neighborhoods on the western edge. Several small buildings remained from the original graceful layout of old farm buildings on the 120-acre site.

The process began with a visioning exercise and physical Master Plan to address both curricular and physical goals for the school. The resulting program defined 250,000 gross square feet of built space in the first-phase of a complex build-out and an additional 100,000 gross square feet of future expansion, including a theater and natatorium.

The new 678-seat Performing Arts Theatre, completed in 2009, accommodates a variety of school and community uses with state-of-the-art acoustical, lighting, rigging and A/V equipment. In addition to supporting school performances, assemblies and academic activities, the theatre is also used for community based music, dance, and dramatic productions. Access to daylight with blackout shades supports the theatre’s range of uses. A full fly tower, lighting catwalks, and scene shop are designed to promote occupant health and safety.

Throughout the new campus, preservation of mature trees, old stone walls and several small historic buildings defined the layout hierarchy and site organization. The main entry sequence is organized by drop-off and parking along the wilderness edge, with distinct buildings organized around a central quadrangle. Defining this space are the Commons Building, Academics Center, Visual and Performing Arts Theatre and the Athletics Center. Playing and practice fields mediate between changing scales and context.

A contemporary expression, grounded in traditional planning roots, gives the new campus a striking sense of permanence and community. Throughout the day, as students move through the campus, distinct buildings with glass rotundas and other entry forms serve as markers of discrete activity.

COMPLETION

2004 Phase 1 Upper School Campus
2009 Performing Arts Theatre

SIZE

47,700 SF Theatre

AWARDS

Boston Society of Architects, Honor Award for Design Excellence
American Institute of Architects Tennessee, Honor Award for Design Excellence
American School and University, Citation for Design Excellence
Brick Industry Association, Brick in Architecture Awards, Gold Winner

PHOTOGRAPHY

Jeff Goldberg/ESTO
Michael Lewis

OTHER PROJECTS