Our Most Elegant and Successful Projects are all Built on Communication

A deep understanding of the people who live in the houses we design informs everything. The way the house coexists with the land, its inner workings, its systems – the ticks and tocks. The light and air. The mornings, evenings and afternoons in between. The walking flow. The style and vigilant care of every detail down to the last fantastic thing on the punch list.

Jim Nickle
PRINCIPAL / AIA

Jim Nickle

Jim was raised in Huntsville Alabama but always had family ties to Nashville. After earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mississippi State University in 1992 he lived and worked in Chicago loving and learning from one of the most architecturally significant cities in the country. Jim returned to Nashville on a permanent basis in 1994 and immediately put his talent to work. Jim quickly rose to a position of primary managing Architect on some of Nashville’s most prominent buildings.

When Jim and Brian founded their Architectural firm in 2001 it brought the opportunity for Jim to bring his collaborative working style, his ability to execute complex buildings, and his design chops front and center. This is a logical trajectory for a boy who grew up excelling in school with the kids of NASA engineers and the man who worked with the famed Architect Samuel (Sambo) Mockbee. Jim now practices Architecture at the most interesting intersection of innovative design and practical execution. His buildings go together in a logical manner and work day one and down the road. He is passionate about design but for him and his firm, design has to work and ‘keep the water out’ in an elegant way!

Jim has served on boards for The Nashville Children’s Theatre, the Mental Health Foundation, and helped pilot an educational program at the Country Music Foundation which introduced schools and students to the architectural expressions of country music found in the Museum. Jim continues to help develop young architects as part of his mentorship role in the office.

Jim has played an advisory role with Metro Davidson County and the Urban Design Studio, participating in the initial research and development of urban infill guidelines and traditional neighborhood developments around Nashville.

Professional Organizations:
American Institute of Architects - AIA
U.S. Green Building Council – Corporate Member

Brian Smallwood
PRINCIPAL / AIA

Brian Smallwood

Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Brian and his family have chosen to call Nashville, Tennessee home for the last 20 years. As such, Brian brings a unique bi-coastal design perspective, range and sensibility to all of the firm’s projects. From residential to commercial, and West Coast contemporary to the style and comfort of the New South.

Brian has a strong background in art, art history, theory, philosophy, and both technical and art photography – all of which informs and enhances the uncommon form and function of his architectural practice. He has also traveled extensively throughout the world, including a year in Switzerland working directly with famed European architect and educator Olivio Ferrari.

Brian received his BFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and his Master of Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He currently serves as chairman of the Belle Meade Board of Zoning Appeals and serves on the Cheekwood Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Architectural Review Committee at the Thacher School (his alma mater) in Ojai California. Brian has recently joined the advisory board for the Legion Fund which raises funds to support members of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and their families when in need. In his spare time, Brian enjoys coaching local middle school lacrosse teams which he has done since 2001.

Brian is registered to practice Architecture in the following states: Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas and Ohio.

Professional Organizations:
American Institute of Architects - AIA
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards - NCARB
U.S. Green Building Council – Corporate Member

Shawn Henderson
PRINCIPAL / AIA

Shawn Henderson

Raised in Lexington Kentucky, Shawn received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kentucky in December, 1994. While still in school - and based on his talents in computer visualization - Shawn was selected for a coveted Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Chicago) summer internship program in architecture - a spot normally reserved for graduate students. Shawn’s collegiate work also earned him the “Jack Sherrer Memorial Prize for Sensitivity to Design and Materials” and ‘Top Design” for the University of Kentucky Library Student Design Competition. And Shawn’s final student project at UK earned him a 16-week charette at Haines, Lundberg and Waehler in New York, where he was part of the three-man team that designed the winning entry for the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce.

After graduation, Shawn continued to develop his considerable design strengths working for Gresham Smith & Partners in Nashville, working on projects like the “Cub World Cub Scout Camp” in Gallatin, Tennessee, the “Passaic River Protection Project” with the Army Corps of Engineers in Kearny, New Jersey, and Spec Office Prototypes for the Maryland Farms development in Brentwood, Tennessee. And he was selected as one of the founding members of the Aviation Studio, where he helped design large-scale airport projects in Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Richmond and Louisville.

Shawn’s uncanny ability to help clients visualize their projects three-dimensionally has been a big part of Smallwood Nickle’s growth and unique ability to more clearly communicate design ideas and intentions to our clients throughout the life of their project.

Education:
University of Kentucky
Bachelor of Architecture 1994

FEATURED READ

Columns

I remember sitting around one day in Europe speaking to one of my favorite professors. As the conversation wandered he asked me a question: ‘How do round and square columns differ?’ He had a lot of these questions: deceptively simple, engaging, and thought provoking. Over the next few days I ruminated on this as I went through loggia, churches, and walked around town.

Tags Architecture / Travel / Inspiration
FEATURED READ

The Little Things

Hidden electrical outlets lets the beauty of the walls shine through. From the article: Electrical components, such as outlets, light switches, and home-automation controls are something of a necessary evil—they interrupt expanses of perfect plaster and decorative wall treatments but are required for everyday functionality.

Tags Design / Light
FEATURED READ

Architecture Inspired Music

Great article focused on architecture inspired music from Architectural Digest. From the article:

Musicians find inspiration everywhere from nature to people to significant events. But this season's "Westside Connections" program at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) investigates a rather unusual source of musical inspiration:

Tags Architecture / Music / Inspiration