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Old Posted Jan 1, 2008, 4:15 AM
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NASHVILLE, TN | A.A. Birch Criminal Justice Building

This is the A.A. Birch Criminal Justice Building located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Birch Criminal Justice Building To Be Dedicated
posted June 19, 2006

A new state-of-the-art $49 million criminal justice building will be dedicated at 3 p.m. (Central Time) Wednesday in Nashville in honor of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., who is retiring Aug. 31 after 37 years of judicial service at every level of the court system.

The A.A. Birch Building ribbon cutting ceremony will include remarks by Chief Justice William M. Barker, Birch, members of his family and Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. The six-story building at 408 2nd Ave. No. in Nashville will house general sessions and criminal courts serving the 20th Judicial District.

“It is truly with mixed emotions that I am retiring from the judiciary,” Birch, 73, said. “I have been privileged to spend most of my life in public service doing something I enjoy. I cannot adequately express how grateful and humbled I am by the honor of having this beautiful building named for me.”

The courts in the A.A. Birch building had been housed in the 69-year-old Davidson County Courthouse, along with other courts and offices. The historic building has undergone a total renovation and the new building has been added to the complex.

Birch, who was described by Gov. Phil Bredesen as “a trailblazer in the legal profession,” sat as a judge in the old courthouse before being elevated to the Court of Criminal Appeals and, later, the Supreme Court. His portrait hangs in the courtroom over which he presided as a Criminal Court judge.

He began his judicial career in 1969 as a General Sessions Court judge in Davidson County. He previously had served as an assistant public defender and assistant district attorney in Nashville. In 1978 Birch became a Criminal Court judge, and in 1987, he was appointed to the state Court of Criminal Appeals. He was elected to the intermediate appellate court in 1988 and was reelected in 1990.

Gov. Ned McWherter appointed Birch to the five-member Supreme Court in 1993. He was elected the following year and reelected to an eight-year term in 1998. Birch became Tennessee’s first African-American chief justice when members of the court elected him to the position in 1996. He served as chief justice from May 1996 to July 1997.

During his tenure on the bench, Birch has been recognized with a number of professional awards and honors, including the National Bar Association’s prestigious William H. Hastie Award in 1995. Other honors have included the Barbara Jordan Award, the highest honor given by the international Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

Birch earned his B.A. and law degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he was a member of Law Review. He is a former associate professor of Legal Medicine at Meharry Medical College and a former lecturer in law at Fisk University and Tennessee State University. He is a member of the teaching faculty at the Nashville School of Law and has served as University of Memphis School of Law distinguished jurist in residence.

In announcing his retirement, Birch said he has been “immeasurably blessed” in his career.
In his letter to the governor informing him of his decision to retire Birch wrote that his public service “has proven to me that a well-lived life depends not upon what one obtains, but upon what one gives.”

I love this building. It has quite a bit of art deco in it, something I would like to see more of. That relief sculpture is just wonderful.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2008, 4:23 AM
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Nice. Very nice clean lines. I really like that tower portion on the corner.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2008, 4:53 AM
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One of the reasons I believe this building looks good is the stone cladding. While some skyscrapers may use stone cladding they do not make it the focus of the building as it is used here. That is one of the things I like about art deco, the focus on materials.
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Old Posted Jan 4, 2008, 4:22 PM
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nice. how's it lit at night?

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Old Posted Jan 6, 2008, 6:59 AM
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This makes two buildings, this one and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, that Nashville has built recently using old architectural styles, and this makes two buildings that Nashville can be exceptionally proud of. I think this is further proof, along with the Schermerhorn, that if done correctly, old styles can be given new life today. Not everything has to look like a warped box.
"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the ...men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Aug 14, 2008, 5:19 AM
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This building is so so to me, for some reason it does not hit a chord with me, and it brings back a poor attempt at classic architecture. My fav buildings recently completed that are modern classic stone styling are the mansion on peachtree in atlanta, the elysian going up in chicago, and the tower at 15 central park west in new york
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2008, 3:05 AM
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This building was meant to compliment the Metropolitan Nashville City Hall. It contains city council chambers, the mayor's office, and other City of Nashville official offices. That building is located directly south of the Birch Building, and was given an extensive remodel, including an underground garage, and sprawling oval-shaped lawn fronting it on the south side. This whole project, Birch and refurb of City Hall, did much good for the city, and was money well spent.
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