Fred D. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Building

Nashville, Tennessee

Celebrating the public’s role in the judicial process

Nashville, Tennessee

Completion Date

280,000 SF

Project Type
New Construction, Courthouse, Government Workplace

Professional Credits
Thomas, Miller & Partners, Fentress

Stately public architecture

Civic architecture with the stature of a U.S Courthouse is charged with communicating the dignity and stability of its purpose and the openness and transparency of government while providing high levels of security. The primary facade of the Fred D. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Building – a grand, apsidal curved wall with the entry rotunda at its center – creates a welcoming gesture and signals importance. The curve reveals a public passageway, visible from the street, that leads to the building’s six District Courts and two Magistrate Courts. The two flanking towers contain the jury suites, celebrating the important role that the public plays in the judicial process.

Aerial view of the entrance
“The Robes of Justitia,” mosaic artwork by Alyson Shotz, is a metaphor for the protection of justice and the work of the law

Enhancing the urban environment


The new Fred D. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Office Building occupies an important urban site in Nashville’s rapidly revitalized downtown. Its design, a blend of classical and contemporary character, connects past and future. While the all-white building stands out as a stately and elevated institution in the context, its landscaped courtyard and future art installation relate it to the pedestrian experience of its Church Street frontage. The mandatory security standoff zone is integrated seamlessly into the landscape to enhance the public experience of the city.

Interior rotunda
Exterior view
Floor seal


Principal, Design Practice Leader
Send a Message

Sector Contact

Get in contact with us for your next government project.

Featured Projects

At Michael Graves, we create designs that clients dream of. We care not only about what we create; we care whom we create it for.