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Fisk University Cravath Hall
Historic Renovation
Nashville, TN

ICT provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection for a historic renovation of a Fisk University library.

This nine-story building was originally designed in 1930 for Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee as a library with three public floors and six floors of book stacks. The interior restoration and renovation in 2003 followed the extensive exterior repairs completed on the building in 2001. The exterior work included reroofing the 15 individual roofs on the building, repair of over 300 steel casement windows and masonry cleaning and pointing.

A series of murals by Aaron Douglas are located on the second floor. These paintings depicting African Americans in the New World were painted during the Harlem Renaissance period. Conservators provided measures to protect the murals from the elements and construction activities, and finally the conservation process itself. Murals that had been previously painted over on the ceiling of the card catalog room and on end walls in the reading rooms were found and restored.

Efforts were made to restore the open spaces of the reading rooms and to highlight the murals while providing spaces for the University’s administration offices. The original wood bookcases and paneling that had been painted over for many years were restored to their original finish. New construction was designed to include the original detailing so that the new spaces would blend in as seamlessly as possible.