Never Never, Nashville, Tenn.
ARCHITECT: Manuel Zeitlin Architects
- Manuel Zeitlin, AIA, LEED AP
- Kristen Newton
- Ethan Levine
Jamie and Bryan Kenney purchased an old welding shop in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood and tasked Manuel Zeitlin Architects (MZA) with converting it into a neighborhood bar and restaurant. The brothers fell in love with the existing character of the building, which had been built by hand by the previous owner, and wanted to preserve as much of it as possible. The project reflects this intent in how new design elements are introduced, weaving in and out, to create a contrast that enhances the existing building and its unique features.
The team reused existing elements from the original space, such as electrical devices and wall fans, as design features and fabricated a sliding steel door to open the interior space up to the rear courtyard.
Front and back patios wrap around the exterior, introducing wood to the project. This intentional material selection was chosen as a way to add warmth and contrast against the existing metal and concrete walls of the building, creating inviting gathering spaces for patrons.
The unique shape and slope of the site provided some challenges in how to offer access to the main entrance of the building. MZA used this challenge as an opportunity to construct a front outdoor patio that is raised above the sidewalk, creating a dramatic entry experience to the building while providing advantageous sightlines across the adjacent railroad track.
There are two existing sets of large doors that were used to bring in large pieces of equipment when the building operated as a welding shop. These doors have been preserved and are now design features that open up the interior of the building, connecting it to Houston Street and the back patio.
The project is a great example of how to create a special space on a very tight budget while utilizing a building that others may have demolished. Named Never Never, the bar/restaurant is a place without time, so when patrons step inside, their adult worries disappear.
BEFORE PHOTO: Manuel Zeitlin Architects; AFTER PHOTO: Stephen Morton