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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Humdinger of a Building

Metro Center is home to some seriously bad architecture and sprawl. For those who appreciate building density/attractiveness, a drive through this commercial area just north of downtown is no more enjoyable than a serious case of stomach cramps. One exception, however, is a distinctive building segment of the complex housing Crest Hummer of Nashville.

You can't miss the exterior of this contemporary building as it clearly contrasts with the remainder of the Crest Hummer facility (located on Metro Center Boulevard) and wildly plays off all the generic junk in the general area.

Specifically, a half-arched roof caps a sea of glass and metal. No brick. No dryvit. No split-face concrete block. No Hardie siding. Just shiny metal and glass. While no architectural masterpiece, the building succeeds in making a statement among its nondescript neighbors.

Ironically, the most design-edgy structure in the entirety of Metro Center is devoted to accommodating vehicles, necessities of life that have — perhaps more than any other within American society — lulled us into producing ugly building design and dysfunctional place-making.

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