Built as a memorial to the Tennessee soldiers who died in World War I, the War Memorial Building was the first building constructed for state offices outside the capitol itself. Designed in the Greek Doric order by architect Edward Dougherty with McKim, Mead and White, this building has a Doric-columned atrium as its focal point. Engraved into the west and north walls are the names of 3,400 Tennesseans who gave their lives in World War I and a statue entitled “Victory” by Nashville sculptor Belle Kinney sits in the center of the atrium. On each side of this atrium lie wings housing government offices and a large auditorium where WSM’s Grand Ole Opry performed for a time before moving to Ryman Auditorium. The basement of War Memorial once housed the Tennessee State Museum; the Military Branch of the State Museum is still located here.
Legislative Plaza, outside to the east of the War Memorial Building, creates an open-air space for public events. Below ground is a labyrinth of government office spaces and committee rooms for the Tennessee General Assembly. Through the underground Motlow Tunnel, Legislative Plaza is connected to the Tennessee State Capitol. On the plaza stands a statue dedicated to the Women of the Confederacy also sculpted by Belle Kinney and a monument to the Tennesseans who served in the Korean War by sculptor Russell Faxon. Vietnam Veterans Park lies south of the building and contains a statue by Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire.