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, August 16, 2009

Random Tidbits

Both driving and walking this weekend, I noticed the following elements of Nashville's built fabric that are worth a mention:

* The under-construction Pinnacle financial center in Belle Meade (in front of the new Publix) is looking strong. Hastings Architecture Associates has given the building a handsome 21st century design. I'm digging it.

* The vintage brick building home to Smack and located on Elliston Place continues to see its east wall defaced with graffiti. The amount of spray-painted mess seemingly accumulates each month. Sad, as this old-school gem deserves the utmost of care.

* The little brick buildings on Church Street and across from the new-look YMCA are gone. LifeWay owns the land and had the structures demolished, citing their poor condition. No doubt, rehabbing would have been costly. But it could have been done. If downtown is lucky, what eventually replaces the fallen structures will be architecturally noteworthy. This writer, however, is anything by hopeful.   

* One of the best street-level urban views of Nashville can be enjoyed while standing at the intersection of Church Street and Fifth Avenue and looking both north and south. On a similar theme, check the views of the city from the Baptist Hospital crosswalk that spans Church Street. Quite something.