CLIENT: The Metropolitan Development & Housing Authority (MDHA)
CIVIL ENGINEER: Littlejohn Engineering Associates
SITE PLANNING: Civil-Site Design Group.
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: I.C. Thomasson Associates, Inc.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Hodgson & Douglas, LLC
TRAFFIC CONSULTANT: RPM Transportation Consultants.
CONSTRUCTION COST: $3.5 million.
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Civil Constructors
PUBLIC ART: The $1.1 million sculpture, called “Musica” sculpture was first proposed in 1999 when the city was preparing to undergo road construction near Music Row and wanted to enhance its standing as a cultural center. Local arts patrons funded the 40-foot-high bronze sculpture on the condition of anonymity.
LeQuire, a Nashville sculptor known for his 42-foot-tall rendition of the goddess Athena in Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon, sculpted Musica using live models — two white women and one white man, a black man and woman, one Asian woman, a Native American man and a Hispanic man and woman.
Musica is composed of five 16-foot-tall nude figures springing from a limestone foundation surrounding a vertical group of four more figures reaching upward with the highest figure, a female, holding a tambourine. The 10-ton sculpture is believed to be the largest bronze figure group in the United States.
“What I intended, in very simple terms, was to convey the sense of joy and exuberance that music gives us, and it had to be something that lasted for all time, not something that was specifically one kind of music,” Alan LeQuire, the sculptor of Musica, said in The City Paper in Nashville Oct. 13. “It had to represent all kinds of music.”
In the original proposal, the sculpture was to feature semi-clad dancing figures, according to a 1999 Tennessean article, but LeQuire ultimately chose not to clothe the sculptures so that he would not “date” the time period.
COMPLETED: The grand re-opening was in 2001. The Musica statue was unveiled in October 2003.
UNIQUE FEATURES: The innovative aspect of the roundabout was the way in which numerous needs of the client were resolved primarily by a single engineering design solution. The idea of a modern roundabout, never before tried in Nashville, was located on an urban hilltop. Since long sight distances are normally required to view the specific traffic patterns of a roundabout well in advance, designing one atop a hill presented a unique challenge. Coupled with a well-designed streetscape, a remodeled urban park, and the musica roundabout sculpture, these improvements created a pedestrian friendly, retail environment that have helped revitalize Music Row. The project met the schedule for both design and construction and was actually slightly under budget.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Music Row is the heart of Nashville’s country music industry, home to several recording studios, publishing firms, and video production houses. Beset by a number of problems, including a tangled web of streets and intersections along the Demonbreum street corridor, the once vital and thriving area was slowly slipping into decline. In 1996, The Metropolitan Development & Housing Authority (MDHA) agreed to evaluate the economic and physical development issues of the Music Row area. A team was assembled that evaluated a number of scenarios. The conclusion of this comprehensive study was to create a landmark that would serve as a gateway to Music Row and Nashville. A roundabout was proposed to address multiple traffic, pedestrian, and safety issues. A follow-up review one year after the roundabout was in service indicated greatly reduced time delays for motorists and a significant reduction in traffic accidents at the intersection.
PHOTO CREDIT: Zach Goodyear, www.zachgoodyearphotography.com
PROJECT ADDRESS: Demonbreun Street at the intersection of Division Street, 16th Avenue North, and Music Square East, Nashville, TN
*Project Lighting Design and Electrical Engineering by Mark Greenawalt, PE, LC, LEED AP while employed by I.C. Thomasson Associates, Inc.