The client envisioned a stylish hotel with a timeless design that would harmonize with neighboring historical buildings to act as a gateway to downtown Nashville from the west side. Further, Grand Hyatt Nashville had to channel the liveliness of the Nashville Yards, an eclectic new development under construction that will revive an underused downtown district bordering a tangle of railroad tracks.
The Design Solution
HKS’ ingenious design splits the hotel in two parts: a five-story limestone podium fronting Broadway Street and a modern glass tower that rises behind it, set back from the street to open up downtown views for people traveling down Broadway. The stone-faced podium creates a pedestrian-friendly street presence across from the historic Union Station and Frist Art Museum and shows deference to those buildings with its scale and materials. The shape and pattern of the windows on the Grand Hyatt Nashville podium was inspired by the look and rhythm of the tall, narrow windows on the façade of the Frist Art Museum, an art deco landmark.
The gleaming Grand Hyatt tower was also designed as an architectural gesture to welcome residents, workers and visitors to downtown Nashville. The glass façade that faces people traveling toward Nashville on Broadway features tall, vertical fins that direct the eye skyward. As drivers approach the hotel, the glass façade parallel to Broadway features long, horizontal fins that guide the viewer downtown. The fins’ significance extends beyond their visual effect: these elements shade the tower and help lower its energy consumption.
In designing the hotel lobby and main entrance on 10th Avenue, the HKS team took advantage of the fact that the Nashville Yards boardwalk and park flank the hotel on the opposite side. Pedestrians walking by the hotel entrance can peer all the way through the lobby and see the park on the other side. HKS designers also laid out the ground floor to feature restaurants and a standalone coffee shop that would liven up the block while maintaining the linear lobby that connects the hotel entrance to the park. For instance, even though kitchens usually back dining rooms, the HKS design team split up the front-of-house from the back-of-house by placing the commissary kitchen one level below the restaurant zone, providing staff elevators for servers. This creative solution preserved space on the ground floor for the lobby path to remain unbroken from the 10th Avenue entrance to the boardwalk on the opposite side. HKS designers further enhanced the streetscape on 10th Avenue by incorporating a water feature with colored lights that come on at night.
Grand Hyatt Nashville features a three-meal restaurant designed to be a dining destination, plus a specialty restaurant on the corner of Broadway Street and the boardwalk to draw in pedestrians walking along the park. Other attractions include a pool deck that caps the limestone hotel podium and a tower rooftop terrace with electrifying views of Nashville – an Instagrammable scene for a city that has become a popular destination for events and celebrations, such as bachelor and bachelorette parties.
The Design Impact
When it debuts in the fall of 2020, Grand Hyatt Nashville will be the second-largest conference hotel in the city, reinvigorating the western edge of downtown Nashville. The Nashville Yards development that houses the hotel will be anchored by an Amazon office and residential hub and will also encompass an entertainment district with music venues and other amenities.
The hotel’s dining scene is already generating anticipation. Grand Hyatt Nashville’s signature restaurant will be helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock.
- 591 guestrooms
- 24 stories and three underground levels
- Floor-to-ceiling windows
- 65,000 square feet (6,039 square meters) of event space
- 2,500 square feet (232 square meters) of retail space
- Pool deck
- Rooftop lounge
- Restaurants, bars and coffee shop
- 500-car parking garage