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CSU Studio: Erica Weeks Shares an Insider’s Look at Nashville + Sustainability in Specs

By Matthew Switzer posted 29 days ago


This month CIS is featuring on-the-floor interviews from the 2021 CSI National Conference in Nashville, focusing on top trends in specifications, emerging technology, and the value of CSI. In this episode, CSI’s Matt Switzer sits down with Nashville’s own Erica Weeks.

Here at the Conference, I have Nashville local Erica Weeks joining me today. Erica, please talk to me about Nashville architecture, buildings, and things that are cool in the city.

There are so many things that are cool, especially seeing all the new construction. But you should check out some of our fantastic older neighborhoods with the adaptive reuse projects. People are being creative and taking these older structures to really make sure we're remembering the history of Nashville. And there are some hidden gems throughout the city. For example, the Frist Art Museum, which was renovated 20 years ago, used to be the original downtown post office (and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places).

Are there any projects you have worked on locally?

Yes. Lots of projects. One of my favorites is the Bridge Building, which is the small building next to the pedestrian bridge on the east bank of the river. It was saved when everything else on that side of the river was cleared out to construct the football stadium. We were fortunate to do the full building renovation. It is a LEED Platinum building and we were fortunate to also be tenants in the building for five years to watch operations and tour through thousands and thousands of school children.

Your session here at the CSI National Conference, ‘How Rating Systems Have Reinvigorated Spec Writing,’ touched on how to get younger people excited to be a spec writer. Can you give me a snapshot of that?

If you are leveraging sustainability, the movement for materials transparency through the use of rating systems like LEED, WELL and LBC (Lifecycle Building Challenge), really hit home with the younger design staff who want to do the right thing from a material ingredient basis. Informing them how picking their materials fits into specification writing to ensure contractors understand we’re trying to make thoughtful selections with those materials is really seeing a lot of interest from younger folks. And it really is making an impact on how we even think conceptually about materials.

Why did you join the CSI Nashville Chapter?

The Nashville Chapter has a long history and I love to participate with others who want to talk about projects, so it gave me a good outlet for those conversations. It really is more of a community, and everybody knows all the products representatives and vendors who help us hone our craft. For me, joining was really about creating those relationships and making sure I’m carrying forward the tried and true tradition of the craft of architecture.

What would you say to any professional who’s not a member of CSI Nashville, and why would they want to join?

I think they should join for that camaraderie. There’s so much to learn within the field of architecture and design, where you have to not just depend on one source of information, and I think more and more people keep hitting that search engine for quick answers when you really have to be critically thinking and creative. There are so many folks in our local chapter you can tap as great resources.

Erica's session at the CSI National Conference, "How Rating Systems Have Reinvigorated Spec Writing." is available in the CSI Learning Library.