Journal Communications kicked off 2021 by moving into a new office and into a new era for our staff and clients.

While we didn’t go far geographically – our new address is just down the road from our previous space in Franklin, Tenn. – we’ve advanced strategically in ways that benefit our employees, our clients, and the company as a whole. Our teams work within our divisions of Livability Media, Farm Flavor Media and Journal Travel – telling stories of places around the U.S., and encouraging our audiences to Go There. Live There. Grow There.

Like many offices across the globe, Journal transitioned to remote work in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated. Unlike many companies, though, we were already beginning to consider a new way of working. We had tiptoed into the hybrid work model in the past few years, with most staff working from home one or two days a week, primarily for focused work that didn’t require network access.

“In the past, spaces were designed by how many heads you are trying to fit in and how many workstations you need to fulfill that – what was left over is what you end up using for other purposes,” says COO Kim Holmberg. “We wanted to flip that completely on its head.”

Now fully embracing a hybrid work model, our innovative office focuses on flexibility and functionality for all who walk through its doors.

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Eyes On The Horizon – Metropolitan Nashville Airport

By 2041, the population of the Greater Nashville Area is expected to surpass 2.5 million people. BNA passenger traffic will grow from 16 million today to more than 23 million. BNA Vision is the dynamic expansion plan designed to get in front of this growth and maintain Nashville International as a world-class airport.

Overview of BNA Vision

Project 1 of the BNA Vision was awarded in January 2018 to Hensel Phelps as the Design Builder. Collaborative Studio is the Associate Architect working with Fentress Architects from Denver on the project. Design packages have been issued throughout the year with the Construction Documents for the last scope of the work being issued this week.  Collaborative Studio’s role has included the design of airline offices and TSA checkpoints.  This project will be complete summer of 2020.

Illustrated view of proposed airline ticketing area

Hilton Nashville Green Hills Hotel Opens in Tennessee

Chartwell Hospitality LLC announced today the grand opening of the 210-guest-room Hilton Nashville Green Hills, a contemporary property featuring high-end custom designs and an abundance of meeting and event space.

Architects: Rabun Architects, Interior Design: Collaborative Studio

As the neighborhood’s only full-service hotel, Hilton Nashville Green Hills is located just five miles from downtown Nashville’s central business district in the popular Green Hills neighborhood and this hotel also have great decks thanks to the Deck Hero services online. This location is central to Fortune 500 businesses and world-class dining and shopping options, including The Mall at Green Hills, a premier shopping destination in the Mid-South.

Collaborative Studio designed the interiors for the project – interior photos to follow soon.

on the boards: JFK Marriott

Following our trip to Marriott headquarters in November, we are finalizing the guest room interior design and FF&E for the new JFK Airport Marriott. The palette is light and refreshing with a
light tone MDF cut to size for warmth and white and grey accents and a pop of color. Construction has started on the shell building with completion scheduled for July 2020.

south Florida’s first Canopy by Hilton property is one step closer to reality.

On Monday, Driftwood Acquisitions and Development (DAD) of Coral Gables broke ground on its first hotel project in Palm Beach County – the 150-room Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach.

The new $50 million lifestyle hotel under construction at 704 S. Dixie Highway is going up about two blocks from City Place, the downtown retail, dining and entertainment complex.

“West Palm Beach is a lively and entertaining area for all ages, and we are confident that this thriving neighborhood is the perfect fit for the Canopy brand,” said Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of DAD, an affiliate of North Palm Beach-based Driftwood Hospitality Management. “We’ve always wanted a hotel that was close to our management headquarters and we are now living that dream.”

The 14-story hotel project — about three years in the making — is expected to create more than 480 jobs, Rodriguez said. Construction will take about 18 months to complete for a targeted opening in the first quarter of 2019.

Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, said the new Canopy hotel will be “another great lodging option for convention delegates and leisure travelers coming to West Palm Beach

Guest Room FF&E Selections
King Headboard Elevation

under construction: FRA Student Center

Collaborative Studio is providing interior design services for the architect working on the new Franklin Road Academy Student Center.

We presented to the Masterplanning Committee on January 10th.

on the boards: HCA Building 3 Re-Envisioned

After the successful conversion of Building 4 on the HCA Corporate Campus, Collaborative Studio has been commissioned to re-envision Building 3.  This 100,000-SF 2-story building which originally was a warehouse, was converted to an office occupancy in the 2001.  However, as the corporate culture at HCA has changed and all other buildings have been renovated, this building was on the chopping block.  Collaborative Studio presented a scheme to senior management which re-envision the building with increase windows for natural light and views, new entrance and canopy drop-off, additional square footage and updated interiors compatible with other corporate building on campus.  This solution provided a cost-effective workplace for 500-employees rather than the increase cost and time to build a new building in its place.

Existing building with outdated appearance, narrow windows on south & west facades and no covered entry drop-off.

Redemption for the”Mistake on the Lake”

Part III: Incorporating the History

We saw in Parts I and II how Collaborative Studio helped United Methodist Publishing House find and repurpose a new home that would better fit the company’s new culture in a world going paperless in a hurry.

The United Methodist Publishing House’s history goes all the way back to 1789 in Philadelphia when it was established as the Methodist Book Concern. The Nashville operation began in 1854 as the publishing house for the Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1939, the three branches of Methodists in the U.S. at the time—the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South—merged, and Nashville was chosen as the headquarters for the united church. In 1957, it built a multi-story building at Demonbreun and 8th in downtown Nashville to house four large printing presses, a huge prepress department, and writers, graphic designers, and administrators.

The press in its heyday printed not only in-house publications but also was hired to print books and magazines for the Baptist Sunday School Board.

By the 1980s, it began to become clear that it no longer made sense to own its own printing presses.

As described by UMPH CEO Neil Alexander, “The very assumption that it made sense for a publisher to also be a printer went from ‘of course’ to absurd.  That’s the two ends of the continuum.”

In 1989, UMPH sold off its presses and large parts of the building became vacant space. For the next two decades, the publishing industry continued to experience upheavals as more and more content became available online and new ideas such as print-on-demand and the paperless office took hold.

As new technologies came on board, the building accumulated past technologies such as hand presses and publishing equipment. It also housed an extensive library of historic books.

Fast forward to 2015, and now the headquarters has relocated to a contemporary space on a lakefront campus in MetroCenter. While the publisher was eager to embrace the efficiency and energy of its new home, it made it known to architect Jenny Campbell of Collaborative Studio, who designed the new space, that the best parts of the history would in some form move with the staff.  Campbell was tasked with incorporating centuries of religious publishing history into the new environment.

UMPH designed by Collaborative Studios Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 in Nashville, TN.

Says Alexander, “Our aspiration was that the new building project a strong sense of a contemporary, forward-looking organization eager to embrace the tools of the digital age, but well-rooted and affirming the past technologies and efforts that built the foundation that made it possible for us to have this work to do.”

Campbell’s solution was a combination of placing interesting artifacts like the hand-cranked printing presses in nooks as fine sculpture, hanging black-and-white photographs of downtown Nashville, and coming up with inventive ways to celebrate the past.

Read more…

Redemption for the”Mistake on the Lake”

Part II: The Physical Transformation

In Part I, we looked at the changing culture of United Methodist Publishing House and how architect Jenny Campbell, President of Collaborative Studio, helped the Nashville institution find a facility—and transform it—to suit their unique environmental needs as well as the technology needs of a paperless office. In Part II, we’ll look at what it took to make the building function and perform like a modern office building.


(above photograph taken before renovation)

There were serious challenges to making over the former retail space.

Most obvious was the roof. In addition to its Smurf-blue color, it leaked. And in the middle of the facility was the “circus tent,” an enormous cupola with double stacks of clerestory windows.

A product called Top Hat proved to be an economical way of fixing the roof leaks without the expense of replacing the roof. Top Hat was installed on top of the existing roof and in a single stroke fixed the roof and changed the color.

The circus tent was problematic. Originally the location of the mall’s food court, its roof size and double-stack of windows added to the solar heat gain that would have to be overcome with bigger air conditioning units. We hired domestic air conditioning Brisbane company to come repair the A/C unit. Aesthetically it dominated the appearance with its height. In addition, some roof repairs were needed due an unseen leek on the broken A/C which ended causing a huge mold growth on the wall, we manage to get rid of it on a single day getting A-1 Certified Environmental Services, we also use them to make some Indoor Air Quality Testing before opening the building back to public. Campbell decided the best plan was to strike the tent and remove it. A new clerestory in its place now provides beneficial natural light without the solar heat gain.

Another problem was where the many columns skirting the building connected to the balconies and roofline. Originally these round columns, built of a stucco-like material, were tied in awkwardly and finished off with a dose of caulk. Campbell saw the potential for future leaks and chose to wrap the columns in mill-finish aluminum. The result was an elegant solution to the water infiltration problem, which then needed the service from the water treatment companies australia.

“Almost everything we did on the exterior that changed the aesthetics also solved a thermal or a moisture problem,” says Campbell.

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Redemption for the”Mistake on the Lake”

A three-part series on the United Methodist Publishing House’s move from downtown Nashville to its new location in the repurposed Fountain Square property in MetroCenter. The building was dedicated on July 28.

Part I: Transforming the Culture

United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), whose roots go back 150 years in Nashville, recently moved from its downtown location to a waterfront campus in MetroCenter. The religious institution’s new home is the former Fountain Square, an outdoor mall built in 1987 that never lived up to its promise to draw tourists and shoppers from miles around. As stores and restaurants failed and most of the building sat empty, it became infamously known as Nashville’s “mistake on the lake.” If you moved to Nashville in the past ten years, you might only remember the building for its distinctive aqua blue roof.

Before-ext-far        After-ext-far

(the first photograph is from before renovation and the second is after renovation)

The blue roof is gone, thanks to Collaborative Studio. Its design transformed the unsuccessful retail venue into a corporate paradise with workers enjoying a modern office environment bathed in heavenly light and equipped with ergonomic workstations, screened-in porches, and strolling paths around the lake.

At one time considered worthy of the wrecking ball by its former owner, the late Bud Adams, Collaborative Studio saw the opportunities presented by the building’s elongated shape wrapping around a manmade lake.

“I saw how this eyesore for the city could be repurposed,” says architect Jenny Campbell, President of Collaborative Studio. “Its shape and the views were really nice, and it had the potential for a totally different feel.”

It also provided the right answer for what Neil Alexander, CEO of United Methodist Publishing House, envisioned for the publisher’s future.

Read more…

Chartwell Hospitality’s New Hilton Garden Inn Brings Unique Interior Environment to Downtown Nashville

Opening in time to accommodate the CMA Music Festival, the new Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Nashville features custom public spaces unlike any other in the brand’s lineup of premiere hotels.

Chartwell Hospitality requested that Collaborative Studio adapt Hilton Garden Inn’s brand standard to the urban environment of Nashville’s SoBro area. Hilton Garden Inn’s signature is to provide its guests a garden-like natural interior experience. For the SoBro location, which promises to be a top performer for the brand, the owner wanted something different while staying consistent with the brand elements.

“The owner brought us the challenge of designing a custom space that is compatible with the brand’s concept.” – Jenny Campbell

Collaborative Studio answered the challenge by abstracting the local natural elements of Middle Tennessee and carrying those elements through the public spaces. The materials and finishes employed throughout the hotel blend the urban fabric of Downtown Nashville with the colors, shapes, and textures of the parks and natural areas in and around Nashville.

To achieve the goal of nature plus urban plus brand, Collaborative Studio looked to the sky, the earth, and the flora of Middle Tennessee and designed paths through the spaces that present to guests colors, textures, and images of Nashville’s nature while revealing the urban cityscape through the hotel’s expansive windows and this awakening visions piece of art all around it.

Specific elements abstracted included a starry night sky in the vestibule, a fire pit, stone paths, a sweeping sky, and pendant lights that recall sunlight streaming through clouds. The pavilion, a two-story space, is accented by a stunning photograph of one of Tennessee’s waterfalls. The two levels are organically connected by a grand oval stairway in the center of the pavilion.

Collaborative Studio carried the custom elements into the hotel’s eating areas (the Chef’s Buffet and the Grill), the reception desk, the bar, and lounging and gathering spaces (the Gazebo).