Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment
Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
* The vertical lights at the top of the Omni Hotel Nashville are very attractive and eye-catching. Likewise, the street-level activation along Fifth is strong. This building has turned out much better than I was expecting.
* Anil Patel's mixed-use project at 18th and West End avenues is now on the second floor and should rise quickly.
* What about the new-look building at 17th and West End and home to Metropolitan Bank? Very nice. The color scheme (charcoal and medium gray) and signage are of quality.
* Will West End Summit materialize? I have no idea.
* The Fairfield Inn on Division Street in The Gulch has been topped. Now it's time for the skin. Perhaps surprisingly, I feel optimistic.
* I continue to be pleased with the Homewood Suites on West End Avenue. It seems about 80 percent (if not more) finished.
* Adam Leibowitz broke ground last week on what he is now calling Amplify on Main, to be located in East Nashville. Adam is a good man and I'm very happy to see him move forward on this project.
* Relatedly, developer Justin Hicks has two developments planned for the east side. They should both be strong.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Given Nashville doesn't have much old-school built fabric (single-family homes notwithstanding) to begin with, I am more than comfortable with the city's having landed some new buildings that replicate the traditional model. I acknowledged that purists would argue a 21st century building should show a contemporary design aesthetic and, generally speaking, I agree. But because this city has gone berserk since the 1960s razing hundreds of beautiful old buildings, I can both live with and advocate the introduction of "replica" buildings. On that theme, here is a list of my favorites "neo-traditional" building constructed in Nashville during the past approximately 15 years:
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Until then, here are a few things that have caught my attention the past week or so:
* The updating of the building that will be home to Metropolitan Bank is progressing nicely. The stucco building, which addresses both West End Avenue and Broadway and which will sit in the shadow of West End Summit, has been given a two-toned exterior color update (dark and medium gray) that looks strong. In addition, new signage has been added.
* The Omni Nashville Hotel street-level space along Korean Veterans Boulevard is very eye catching. In fact, and notwithstanding the painfully blank Fourth Avenue side of the building, the Omni exterior is far more attractive than I anticipated. The recent progress (the addition of vertical blue lights at the building's crown is a particular highlight) has rendered a quality design.
* I am curious to get the opinions of those readers who have seen the exterior design of The Pub, located in Pine Street Flats in The Gulch. Some folks might contend The Pub's traditional colors, materials and forms (which mimic an historic English tavern entrance) jarringly contrast with the otherwise contemporary Pine Street Flats exterior. However, I find the street-level space very inviting and classy. It will be interesting to see how the exterior for fellow PSFlats restaurant Burger Republic ends up looking.
* Work on the Hill Realty building located at the Broadway and Division split in Midtown continues, with the building showing outstanding potential to be very distinctive once finished. The shape has been modified in such a way to present an almost flat iron-esque form. I'm liking it more and more.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Thanks for your patience. I have not posted in more than two weeks given the discontinuation of City Paper publishing. The paper was a major part of my life and to see it put to rest has been emotional. Furthermore, the Creating Places column got its start in the City Paper print version in early 2005 and, with the paper no more (print or web) I even considered ending this blog. But after some thought, I've decided to forge ahead with this site.
On this theme, I will be resuming my standard approximately "two modest postings per week schedule" very soon. Until then, here is something that has me very pleased: a grassroots effort to save the Cordell Hull building downtown.
Take a look here.
The more I've thought about the Hull being felled, the more concerned I have become. Nashville's central business district has enough "dead space," and to create additional would be shameful. Some folks might argue that a "nice green space" would be fine. I could not disagree more. Downtown has numerous green spaces and does not need another — particularly if a modernist mini-masterpiece must be razed.
I commend Cornelia Pearson and all the folks who took the initiative to create and/or sign this petition. Good for them and may their efforts be rewarded.
Save the Hull ...