The owner of this international research firm wanted his new headquarters to reflect the hospitality industry that his company serves as well as his own love of the outdoors. Conceptually, this led to a structure based upon the design typology of a Tennessee lodge.

The facility settles down into the gently descending site as its natural materials create a compatible relationship with the landscape and an existing grove of mature trees. In both the property’s entrance into the wooded, 10.65-acre site and within the building’s interior, the warmth of the stone masonry coloration and texture sets a hospitable tone. Solid masonry walls of the enclosed space contrast with the transparency of the open office space, complementing the post and beam structure.

Five separate departments work to generate the company’s product of statistical information. This separation of functions inspired the creation of “cabin” elements, clustered along a central spine and unified under one roof for mechanical cost efficiency. Slate flooring runs along the central corridor and defines a strong link through the building, physically connecting the company’s individual workspaces. This datum begins on axis with an open stone fireplace, the lobby’s focal point.

Nearly 15 years have passed since ESa designed our current corporate office building in Hendersonville and, to this day, the entire staff still enjoys walking into the building each morning to begin their work day. So, when it came time to add another structure, selecting ESa for the design was easy. They have been great to work with and, above all, they listen to our comments and concerns to create a great working environment. We look forward to working with them on our new building, and I am confident that we will have another award winner when it’s completed. —Randell A. Smith, Owner and Founder, Smith Travel Research

Photos by Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing; © Robt. Ames Cook; © Henry Ambrose