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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Creating Places: VU Addition, Pangaea Update

Work appears completed on the facade addition to Cohen Memorial Hall, which fronts 21st Avenue and is located on Vanderbilt University's Peabody Campus. The addition greatly limits long-distance views (for motorists navigating 21st) of the other three sides of the historic structure. On a positive note, the new component of the building (dominated by limestone) is very handsome.

In nearby Hillsboro Village, the brick building home to Pangaea has been given a fresh coat of paint and looks fantastic. The color scheme of bold yellow and semi-electric blue pops with a funkiness befitting of the district. Now if Pangaea's aging (and fading) red awning can just be replaced, perhaps with a silver or charcoal (no more red, please) version...

On the Village theme, I must mention the building that houses Cornerstone Financial Credit Union (a retrofitted structure that was completed in the early 2000s). With each passing year, I dislike this building's exterior more and more — and yearn for the original, despite its flaws. The current exterior is painfully bland, mimicking the uninspired — and safe — junk thrown up seemingly everywhere in this town, whereas the previous iteration at least brought a bit of 1960s urban grit to the table. 


  1. Also bringing some 1960s urban grit to the table: the late Jud Collins.

  2. Ah, yes. I liked the folksy Jud Collins.