Opryland Beer Hall
The Beer Hall is part of an entertainment district at a resort hotel, convention center and performance venue in Nashville TN. The client was looking for a way to positively enhance the experience of visiting their historic and nationally recognized concert venue. It was important that the beer hall be able to serve the rush of guests before and after a show. They also wanted a space that could be used for events unrelated to the theater. In addition, they wanted a smaller outlet, where guests coming to tour the theater during nonevent times could grab lunch or a coffee.
Design ChallengeOne of the primary challenges was designing a building that could handle extremely large crowds at peak demand times while feeling comfortable on non-event days. This was done breaking the massing down into a main space and a series of secondary spaces, that flowed together. The complex is able to seat over 700 people and handle over 500 in one contiguous space, but the architectural vocabulary and attention to detail give it a richness and warmth that brings down the perceived scale.
Another one of the challenges was integrating the design into a heavily wooded environment. Retaining the existing density of trees was important not only from an environmental standpoint, but also because those trees are a significant element in how guests experience the space. The rear dining deck was designed to hover over the existing root structures and was shaped to respond to the locations of existing trees, including building around two of the larger trees. An elevated boardwalk touches the ground lightly as it weaves around existing trees, to connect the building to its parking.
Physical ContextThis project is located directly adjacent to an existing plaza and historic concert venue while being flanked to the back by a small forest of trees. The design drew inspiration from the original theater on the site, the Dixie Tabernacle (also known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle) which was built in 1885 but was later lost to fire. The space features heavy timber trusses, wood siding with stone accents and expansive window walls.
Connecting to the different environments around the project was a key design driver. Much attention was paid to designing the facades to allow the outside in during summer months. Two systems were put in place to achieve this. The first is a series of large glass vertically rotating pivot window walls. The second is a series of large glass vertical lift window walls which serves as the openings on the front and rear of the main beer hall. These openings respond to the exterior and interior seating arrangements and allow for a seamless integration of both during summer months. In keeping with the request to keep the building as environmentally responsible as possible we utilized the beauty of locally sourced timber, and locally fabricated structural steel connections to create our interior aesthetic. In an effort to conserve on electricity use in the large interior space, we utilized rows of industrial sized light tubes. These tubes bring in natural ambient light, even on cloudy days.