Kirkland Hall

Kirkland Hall
Nashville, TN
Completed in: 2024
Client: Vanderbilt University


Vanderbilt University’s Kirkland Hall was originally dedicated in 1875 as one of the primary campus structures, known as “Main Building.” It housed much of the campus functions including classrooms, laboratories, a chapel, a museum, and a library. The hall was originally designed by Nashville architect William C. Smith in a Victorian Gothic style complete with two prominent towers. After a major fire in 1905, the hall was rebuilt in an Italianate style with a single tower. Steel columns and poured concrete floors replaced wood in the reconstruction, prompting the university to declare the building “fireproof.” The university commemorated this event in 1907 by renaming the building, “College Hall.” It was renamed again in 1937 to honor Vanderbilt’s second chancellor, James Hampton Kirkland, and his wife, Mary Henderson Kirkland. The last major renovations in 1968 & 1988, included the addition of the rear exit stair, elevators, and core systems upgrades. The 4th & 5th floors were also added into the old double height chapel space at this time. Today’s renovation removes these added floors to restore a portion of the double height space. Other renovation scope includes restoration of the exterior masonry, new MEP, lighting & security systems, new exterior windows & doors, all gender-neutral bathrooms, and two fully accessible front entries. The adjacent Kirkland Esplanade redesign provides a more pedestrian friendly experience to enhance the approach to Kirkland Hall, while maintaining necessary vehicular access. The renovations are aligned with the FutureVU campus planning framework and its core themes of accessibility and inclusion, connectivity and community enhancement, and sustainability. The project is targeting LEED Gold under LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors.