Nashville Public Library – Nashville, TN

Case Study Overview


GHP Environmental + Architecture Helps Young Adults Design their own Nashville Public Library
The Nashville Public Library received a grant for a steering committee to plan young adult spaces throughout their library system. When GHP Environmental + Architecture was tapped to design and create these spaces, they went a step further to include the community, research the audience and provide spaces that are functional and usable.


With a partnership that started in 2007, GHP Environmental + Architecture began helping the Nashville Public Library program plan for their young adult spaces. The goal was to create a safe place for students to come after school where they could learn and hang out.

The Library knew they wanted these spaces but needed a guide to help develop them. The GHP Environmental + Architecture-led steering committee created a way to involve just the audience they were designing the space for. Along with Vanderbilt University and a class of Ph.D. candidates, 12 students were challenged to create their own space, and create they did.

Final designs by students were selected and GHP Environmental + Architecture used the designs as the basis for the actual project. Professional elements, such as bringing things up to code, were added to ensure things went smoothly.


Students now have a safe, fun place to go in the library on the downtown campus, the Madison Branch and at the Green Hills Branch Library. The spaces inspire learning and aren’t your typical quiet, stuffy library rooms. Involving the students in the conception process created a connection between the library and its visitors that ensures the spaces are used and well taken care of.

Students have Studio NPL, which allows students to write, compose music, design on digital platforms and build other, non-digital creations. They also have access to gaming and 21st Century equipment and technology.

Tari P. Hughes, president of the Nashville Public Library Foundation, said: “The Nashville Public Library and its Foundation are grateful to Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc. for its incredible work on a series of teen-centered digital learning labs that we call Studio NPL. Not only did GHP Environmental + Architecture do a beautiful job creating engaging spaces for teens to explore their interests and passions, Dominique Arrieta involved students in the design process thus opening their eyes to new career paths along the way. As a result, our city’s teens have fun, technology-filled learning spaces to welcome them when not in school.”

Kent Oliver, library director for the Nashville Public Library, also sent GHP Environmental + Architecture their praises for the project.

“It is always a pleasure to work with the GHP Environmental + Architecture team. They are thorough professionals, creative individuals and thoughtful listeners who are committed to excellence in project development,” Oliver said.