LifeWay Christian Resources


Nashville, TN


Architecture, Experiential Design & Wayfinding, Interior design

One of the world’s largest providers of Christian products, services and books, LifeWay Christian Resources has quite the story to tell. Founded in 1891 by Baptist minister Dr. James Marion Frost, the organization spent 125 years in a 14-acre, nine-building campus in the heart of downtown Nashville. Over time, the campus began to challenge their ability to be good stewards of their resources and remain in-line with their overarching business goals.

Facilitated by Gresham Smith, a Development Feasibility Study and Workplace Strategy Report aided in LifeWay’s decision to sell their existing campus and relocate from 1.1 million square feet of usable space to a new 277,000-square-foot, nine-story building located within downtown Nashville’s Capitol View development. We partnered with LifeWay to help them prepare for this major workplace transition and designed their brand-new HQ to reflect the company’s history while consolidating, modernizing and representing their new identity.

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The exterior building of LifeWay Christian Resources

Referencing the Local Context

Modest in its architectural expression, we created a modern building that represents LifeWay’s commitment to serving others while embracing the aesthetic character of the adjacent 110-year-old Marathon Motor Works. The building also blends with a series of sleek, high-rise offices sprouting up around the downtown core.

Employees playing a game in the the LifeWay Christian Resources building

Working Together as One

From the open-office floor plans to the plazas and fun zones, every space was designed to inspire dynamic interaction and innovation among the company’s 1,200 local employees. In striving to meet LifeWay’s goal of working together as one, our design was based in part on employee feedback. Staff not only helped determine furniture selection and meeting room layouts but also selected scripture verses that are beautifully displayed throughout the campus and serve as a poignant backdrop to a striking monumental stair.

A shot of the lobby at the LifeWay Christian Resources building

Communicating LifeWay’s Story

Relocated from the previous sanctuary, eight stained-glass parable story panels suspended by custom steel frames cast an array of colors throughout the two-story lobby welcoming visitors and employees to the building. Along with the scripture passages and modern video technology, the reimagined panels clearly communicate the LifeWay story—past, present and future.

A reception desk at the LifeWay Christian Resources building

Expressing the Company Brand

The LifeWay brand is expressed via a variety of unique touchpoints throughout the campus, each reinforcing the company message and values in a different way. These include a creative book collage featuring publications that highlight each decade of LifeWay’s publishing history.

A two-story staircase in the LifeWay Christian Resources building

Providing Spiritual & Creative Inspiration

Showcasing LifeWay’s rich legacy, their new corporate headquarters celebrates the company’s culture, honors their core beliefs, and introduces new spaces that provide spiritual and creative inspiration. The facility includes LifeWay retail bookstore, a café and terrace, video and photography studios, a credit union and a vendor meeting area, and a conference space with theater-style seating that accommodates 700 people.

Our new headquarters propels us forward in this new era, as an innovative company in an efficient space that provides our employees with the spiritual and creative inspiration they need to do their important work. It also renews our commitment to downtown Nashville and contributes to a safer, greener, more walkable urban core. We are very pleased with the timeless space Gresham Smith has created for us. Thom S. Rainer President and CEO, LifeWay Chrisian Resources