421 5th Avenue

This building of unusual shape and orientation has found its place at the foot of the hill of the Tennessee State Capitol. Whether the previous urban context was built with different plans or there was an intentional it challenges the first time visitor used to the classical city block outline.

The chamfered outline of the building would have been expected on the streets intersection, but here it opens to the large steps leading to the State Capitol. The natural position of the entrance, at the outer part of the chamfer is hidden behind an unexpected angular part of the building existing only in the basement level of the building. The small plaza on the other side of the building, with wide steps and planted beds leads to the grand main entrance as the building wings embrace the public space.

The limestone faced building would have been called neoclassical at first glance, with six shallow but monumental pilasters and an ornate cornice, but the bronze grilles, outdoor octagonal lanterns and sculptures in both bronze and limestone show the apparent influence of art-deco.

Breaking the routine in both building orientation and the decoration proved to be successful.

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