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, September 29, 2010

Creating Places: More SoBro Grit Gone

Demolition began today on a non-descript cinderblock building on the west side of Encore and facing Demonbreun Street (across from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center). Though of no design/architectural significance, the little building will be missed when you consider SoBro has already lost so much of its gritty, fine-grained built fabric. Apparently, the replacement for the structure will be surface parking. Wonderful.

I can still visualize so many smallish old-school buildings in SoBro that have been toppled only since 1995. Some were handsome (i.e., the Chilton Building) some offered a cool usage (the structure home to 328 Performance Hall) and others were, well, bland. But all were built prior to 1970 and offered a pedestrian scale and feel. At this rate, "SoBro circa 2030" will offer 10 massive post-2000-built structures and a sea of surrounding surface parking. Such a landscape might look imposing from afar and from a car, but up close and on foot...that will be one ugly SoBro.

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