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, July 5, 2009

Random Notes

Following are a few observations:

— 1700Midtown, the under-construction apartment complex sited about midway between Charlotte Avenue and Church Street (and on the eastern fringe of the Medical District), is taking shape. I noticed today a segment of the corrugated metal skin. In fact, when the full complement of metal cladding adorns 1700Midtown, it could rank as one of the city's three most industrial-looking residential buildings.

— A few weeks ago, I finally checked out the exterior design of the diminutive building home to Amun Ra Theatre (located on Clifton Street in North Nashville). The structure represents one of the best examples of a non-descript cinderblock building being given new life. 

— On the "re-inventing cinderblock buildings theme," a mural now adorns the west wall of the little building located on Halcyon in 12South and home to Halcyon Bike Shop. Very eye-catching.  

— The recently retrofitted Holiday Inn Vanderbilt is now sporting new signage on its walls, with the property's surface parking lot now getting a free-standing sign. The dominant signage color is lime. Risky and bold. Not sure, however, if I'll like it as time passes.

— Exterior work on 1914 Charlotte, a one-story medical office building in Midtown, is almost completed. I've got mixed opinions on the design, as the building offers nice brick detailing, an attractive color scheme and solid definition (via its shapes and materials). It also is built to the sidewalk at an intersection, another major plus. Of note, however, Charlotte Avenue is a major street on various levels and needs major buildings (that is, those of at least three stories). Furthermore, the design of the structure's entrance is questionable. Still, and compared to so many buildings constructed in Midtown from the 1960s through the 1990s, 1914 Charlotte is acceptable.


  1. Hey William, this will make you happy, the Beaman GMC building is coming down.

  2. Which Beaman GMC building?