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, April 24, 2011

Creating Places: Hilton's Home2Suites

Midtown is slated for yet another hotel, as Hilton will construct a Home2Suites that will front Division Street and be sited on the east side of Bristol on Broadway. Within that general area is a Hilton Garden Inn, a structured parking garage with which Home2Suites will share. The design, though not particularly distinctive, at least offers a contemporary feel and fairly masculine color scheme. One characteristic of note: The main entrance seems very underwhelming based on the rendering. At least, however, that entrance, will address a sidewalk — and not a surface parking lot. Motorists seemingly will access the building on its west side (much like the HGInn's east side offers an interior motor court). With construction to start soon, we must wonder if the two Marriott hotels slated for 18th and West End avenues will now be built.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Creating Places: Harding House

I recently noticed the Harding House Condominiums building has been given a bit of a facelift with some new black exterior paint elements. Very cool. The building, which I would think was built in the 1960s, is located at 4807 Harding, across from MBA. I can't find a photo.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creating Places: Sounds stadium

Here's an image created by a University of Tennessee architecture student and showing a version of a future Nashville Sounds stadium.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creating Places: The Astoria

I see The Astoria — a two-story office building in Green Hills' Bedford Commons — has been fully framed. Based on an image on the construction site signage, the building should be quite attractive.

Nashville-based Southeast Venture is handling architectural work, with the company having skillfully excecuted design work for two of my favorite Nashville-area structures completed within the past few years: 1700 Midtown (an industrial looking apartment building) and Gateway at Armory Oaks (home to Nashville School of Law).

Ewing Properties is the developer of The Astoria, the colors and shapes for which suggest a very contemporary and masculine building.

The Astoria should be a fine addition (although I do wish it were three stories) to Bedford Commons.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Creating Places: Polar Ice Storage Building

The Nashville Business Journal reported today that Tony Giarratana has sold his Polar Ice Storage Building at 11th and Charlotte avenues (in the North Gulch) to Eleven North LLC for $4.5 million.

Reportedly, EN LLC wants to develop a 302-unit apartment building on the site.

One of the Eleven North partners is TriBridge LLC, a Georgia-based entity with a website that highlights countless generic suburban-style "garden apartment" complexes. I hate to stereotype, but this suggests the company knows no more about cutting-edge urban architecture than I know about the history of Brazilian fashion.

On a local note, TriBridge owns (or manages, or both — I can't determine and really don't care given the ho-hum design styles of the company's vanilla-looking properties) Wyndchase Aspen Grove in nearby Franklin. The name — likely pretentiously created by some bland marketing outfit and combining an alt-spelling of "wind" while referencing Colorado evergreens (please, no more of this absurdity) — is pitiful enough.

Perhaps TriBridge has somebody on the team that "gets it" regarding urban design and development. If not, I have major concerns. The North Gulch needs cutting-edge infill, and a Lakes of Bellevue-like "apartment community" would be no more welcomed for the district than my having a 4-inch fire-hot needle plunged into the hemorrhoids I suffer upon fretting about such matters.