Dr. Truc Le


Nashville, TN


Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Planning

When Dr. Truc Le dreamed of opening Nashville, Tennessee’s first aerial arts school, he called on Gresham Smith to bring his vision to life. Working on a tight urban site in the heart of downtown, our team engineered a solution that meets local development requirements while providing ample space for the school’s custom-built trapeze tent. Nashville School for the Aerial Arts is set to soar, allowing visitors to spin, swing and soar and experience the transformative power of circus arts in a one-of-a-kind space.

acre site
square-foot facility
of a kind experience
landscape outside of the tent at the Nashville School of Aerial Arts

Putting the Puzzle Together

The site’s urban setting and tight .48-acre footprint required the Gresham Smith team to get creative. We completed the puzzle of drainage, utilities, parking, site access and stormwater management on the tight site, meeting Metro Nashville’s code requirements while providing enough space for the main attraction—the 5,000-squre-foot tent.

a drone shot of the tent at the Nashville School of Aerial Arts

Smart Stormwater Solutions

To manage stormwater runoff and support the site, we implemented a 130-linear-foot retaining wall along the alleyway. Additionally, we created a bioretention pond—a green infrastructure solution perfect for small, urban sites. The pond slows and cleans stormwater before it infiltrates the surrounding soil or flows to nearby stormwater drains, which we outlined in the three-phase stormwater pollution prevention plan we developed for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

landscape outside of the tent at the Nashville School of Aerial Arts

Lay of the Landscape

Our landscape architects supplemented the site’s existing trees with a variety of new vegetation. A combination of Magnolia trees, Redbud trees, Arborvitae and Juniper shrubs at the back of the site create a buffer between the adjacent businesses, while additional trees and shrubs in the bioretention pond help with drainage.