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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creating Places: Pinnacle Signage

Good to see the new signage on the cap of the handsome The Pinnacle at Symphony Place tower. Of note, the cap sports "Pinnacle" signs on its east and west faces, with the north and south sides left unadorned. Nice move, as signs on those two sides would have resulted in visual overkill.

On a negative note, however, the "P" in the signage is not visible at night.

On the "building signage theme," I'm not sure where I stand regarding the new Baker Donelson signage (which replaced the Caremark Rx sign) on the east side of the building cap of 211 Commerce Center. Though acceptable, the sign is a bit too plain, offering no color or distinctive shape. However, at night, it is clearly seen (unlike the Pinnacle signs).

With the addition of the Pinnacle signs, the Nashville skyline now boasts 14 buildings of 80 feet or taller with tops sporting signage that is both lit at night and visible from great distances.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Creating Places: Random East Side Notes

Driving East Nashville yesterday, I took a close look at the contemporary building that appears finished and that sits on the northeast corner of the intersection of 10th and Main streets. I'm not sure what type business the structure will accommodate, but I am certain of this: The building, with its 90-degree-angled geometric forms and understated color scheme contrasts significantly with the hideous home to Hunter's Custom Automotive and the handsome East Literature Magnet School/East Middle School buildings that sandwich it.

On the east side theme, work on the "new-look" masonic lodge on the southeast corner of 14th Street and Eastland Avenue continues. I'm afraid the architects of the building, which will replace a 1950s-era non-descript brick structure, might have designed the reincarnated facility to look like some type of semi-stately civic building. Could be a misstep.

Check this post, which explains possible design concerns nicely:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Creating Places: T-Truck Gets Paint Job

The new exterior paint job for the east side building housing the Turnip Truck looks strong. The previous color scheme (dominated by yellow) was a tad too whimsical, thus somewhat emasculating the little brick building. In contrast, the new look (primarily green, with some touches of white) gives the building a more bold appearance. Good work.