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Remembering the old with the new.

We recently designed a new Tabernacle for Garner Creek Retreat Center in Dickson, Tennessee. The owner wanted the new facility to be built where an existing pavilion was still standing so that meant that demolition of the old structure would be imminent. The owner requested that we reuse the old barn wood some way-some how in the new building to pay homage to the pavilion. This pavilion had been home to many gatherings for the Retreat Center and the Church of The Nazarene over the years and we wanted to make sure that it was remembered in the new facility. See the photo below:


Garner Creek One

Existing Pavilion that has been demolished

Also, we learned that this barn wood was reused from some of the old railroad bridges/trestles in my hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee. How cool is that?!

So when we were schematically designing the new building, we came up with several different ideas for reusing the old barn wood and settled on the two different uses. First, we would construct ceiling “clouds” with steel framing/cables and clad the structures with the old barn wood. See below:


Garner Creek 6

Preliminary Sketch of Ceiling “Clouds”


Garner Creek Three

New Ceiling “Clouds” constructed from the old barn wood from Pavilion.

Second, we would use as much as the leftover wood as we could for wainscoting in the foyer area. See below:

Wainscoting and Ceiling “Cloud”

There were a few challenges with using the old wood. The wood had to have a relatively low flame spread rating or to put it plainly it had to burn slowly and the size of the flames had to be relatively small. Thankfully for us the wood was of the Poplar species which has inherently low flame spread characteristics. Also, keep in mind that the building has a full sprinkler system and sprinkler heads are installed in the ceiling “clouds”.

We are very excited about the end result achieved for this project and it could not have been possible without Randy Suggs, his crew and sub-contractors, and Jeff and Angie Jackson who are the directors of Garner Creek Retreat Center. We are all very excited about the potential lives that will be touched within these walls. Check back for more pics in the near future.

Thanks for reading.