A look inside Nashville’s 99 percent mass timber building

Skanska’s Nashville team recently completed The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s new headquarters, a $9 million, 18,500 square-foot, two-story office building for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee that connects Middle Tennessee’s leading charities to funding and nonprofit support.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has served as a leader in philanthropy for 30 years, bringing good people and good causes together in 43 counties in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. The new office building is located on a six-acre brownfield site with 52 parking spaces. The project includes a two-story main office that consists of meeting spaces, offices and a reception area.


The cutting-edge project features cross-laminated timber (CLT) as the basis of design. While most mass-timber projects use CLT for beams, columns and floors, this project takes it to the next level by using it for the exterior walls as well as roof panels, glulam beams and stairs. The lightweight material is strong and has superior acoustic, fire and seismic performance.


CLT, a natural and renewable resource, has a lighter carbon footprint and excellent thermal performance. There were a total of 666 pieces of CLT used in this project, and the exterior of the building is wrapped in a traditional air and water barrier with a finished brick facade.

“A few of the benefits of using mass timber are its speed of installation, natural aesthetics and sustainable properties," says Senior Superintendent Sam Till.


While CLT requires intense upfront coordination, its design characteristics and speed of installation is faster than conventional construction materials. Our drywall contractor, Precision Walls, utilized panel max, a prefabrication technique, with their outside corner of drywall soffits. This process uses less drywall and less labor, which results in less waste.

“When it comes to the future of the construction industry and mass timber, I feel we are just scratching the surface. As manufacturing expertise increases, owners and designers are recognizing the benefits to this type of construction and its impact on the environment. The use of mass timber/CLT will only continue to grow, and it will start to be more ordinary like concrete and steel,” says Russ Brown, senior project manager.


Resilient, low-maintenance plants were planted, and mature trees were preserved for the six-acre property. Additionally, the property features a bio-retention area that will be used to promote stormwater infiltration and the use of decomposed granite.


Throughout the construction of this project, our team went above and beyond to ensure the safety of our workers. There were zero incidents or lost-time accidents, which is due to the comprehensive set of safety programs that were specifically tailored to address the unique challenges and potential hazards associated onsite.

From utilizing PlanIt and StructionSite to implementing a Plan>Do>Check>Act mindset and a “Good Catch” program, our team members prioritized safety during construction.

Additionally, Skanska established a robust safety training and education program that empowered our workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain a safe job site.


Throughout the interior of the building, the imagery of a beehive represents busy individuals working together for the greater good. Much of the bee symbolism is interpreted in the space through honey-toned finishes like the prominent mass timber throughout, as well as brass and black accents, and honeycomb patterning.


CFMT’s new headquarters include expanded meeting spaces for area nonprofits that partner with them, including the Frist Foundation Room, the Truist Conference Room and the Building Bridges Education and Training Room.


The stairs take center stage in the space, acting as a special element of connection; intentionally designed with hardwood treads pulled back to showcase the distinctive CLT construction. The seamless integration of metal and wood in the railing highlights the intricacy required in coordinating mass timber construction.

“The CLT provides a biophilic design that appeals to individuals having to work in an office setting, making their work environment more inviting while also helping to promote a better quality of life and mental health,” says Russ.


The space encourages cross pollination of ideas by maintaining visual connections between levels, housing open office space that shares natural light and outside views, and carving out collaborative niches throughout the office.

Want an inside look at another Tennessee project? Read about our newly opened events center in Clarksville.