NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The city’s premier performing arts facility is looking to expand into a new space, and it has selected the architectural team that will help achieve that vision.
The Tennessee Performing Acts Center (TPAC) announced Thursday it has selected a global architecture team to work with on the design of a “new performance home” for the organization. The team includes Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a national award-winning performing arts architecture frim William Rawn Associates (WRA) and Nashville-based EOA Architects, according to the announcement released.
The selection of the team is a “significant step” toward relocation for the nearly-50-year-old nonprofit, it said in the release, after having $200 million approved in the state’s budget for the next year. The funds will help support TPAC’s move out of the state-owned property where it’s currently housed, the James K. Polk Cultural Center.
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According to TPAC, the state made an initial investment in the organization in 1974 to help construct it the facility as part of the James K. Polk Office Building. Now, nearly 50 years later, the state has determined the building is antiquated and there is a higher and better use for the site, following a comprehensive review of its real estate assets.
In addition to the $200 million allocated for the 2023-24 budget year, TPAC says it intends to receive another $300 million in the following year’s budget along with a requirement of private philanthropic contributions to support the relocation. The $500 million total investment is based on findings from a study conducted by the state and matches estimated costs for repair and renovation of the existing facility. The nonprofit has already begun the search for benefactors who wish to help fund the project with a 5:1 match and unlock the state grant, according to the release.
“We are deeply grateful to the governor and general assembly for granting TPAC the essential financial support to construct a new world-class performing arts center and acknowledging the monumental impact that the arts have on the lives of Tennesseans,” said Jennifer Turner, TPAC President and CEO. “As we take these initial steps toward a cultural vision that represents the future of the performing arts, we are thrilled to work with this incredible team of internationally renowned architects to envision how TPAC will continue to captivate, connect and inspire positive change. I commend the TPAC Board of Directors for their courageous leadership in pursuit of this project.”
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According to TPAC, BIG is an internationally acclaimed architecture firm with a reputation for buildings that are programmatically and technically innovative. WRA is a firm that specializes in performing arts facilities that are timeless and transformable, they added. Together, the firms bring more than 30 years of experience working on performing arts center projects.
“Nashville is a city fueled by the creative energy of music and performing arts. TPAC is already a lively and celebrated institution in the cultural fabric of Nashville—and together with the TPAC leadership team, William Rawn Associates and EOA Architects, we are about to embark on a journey to imagine and design the future physical framework of TPAC that will be as open, inviting, integrated and inclusive as the institution already is,” said Bjarke Ingels, BIG Founder and Creative Director. “Once the form reflects the organization’s mission, we believe TPAC will be one of the great cultural institutions for performing arts in the country, and in the world.”
“William Rawn Associates is honored to help TPAC bring together artists and audiences in exciting new ways,” said Cliff Garley, WRA Principal Architect. “TPAC’s new home should harness the creative energy of Nashville and capture the imaginations of all Tennesseans.”
“EOA Architects is honored to be engaged with this world-class team assembled to shape the future for the performing arts in our city and state,” said Principal Tracey Ford. “As a locally rooted architecture firm, shaping a new home for Tennessee Performing Arts Center is a once in a generation opportunity.”
Michael Murdock, another EOA Principal, said, “Architecture and the arts transform lives; this is our chance to put our hearts and souls into what will undoubtedly become a new treasured icon for our beloved city.”
In building the new facility, TPAC said it hopes to grow its audiences by about 33% and increase its programming, expand is educational and mission-driven activities and drive new visitation to the region while supporting new jobs across industries.
TPAC is currently searching for the site that it will call home in addition to securing philanthropic contributors that will unlock the state grant.
“Today is an extraordinary moment for us to dream, think bigger than ourselves and embrace this artistic opportunity to develop a new performance home that the community can be proud of,” Turner said. “Tennessee Performing Arts Center is a treasured cultural gem in Tennessee, and this vision for the future of Nashville uniquely aligns with the ambitious growth that the community continues to witness.”