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.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Creating Places: Bad West End Design Part 2

From the Wells Fargo building, we move west along West End Avenue and, next, to the Courtyard by Marriott. The overall color scheme is horrid, with a brownish-orange stucco skin and a cheesy green metal roof (commonly found topping structures that offer a simple and safe design). The building's window forms seem designed as an afterthought. In fact, the Marriott building makes the somewhat similarly designed Hampton Inn only a block away appear to be a strong member of West End Avenue — if anything because the Hampton's metal roof is charcoal (which always works better than the goofy green, red and blue metal roofs you see dotting countless generic suburban buildings). What's really sad is that the nearby Hutton Hotel, which clearly will not win any design awards, is vastly more attractive than either the Hampton or Marriott.

As I prep to write Part III, do remember that I am not including any buildings home to fast food fry pits. The pathetic little rats' nest from which cholesterol-laden Pizza Hut pie is picked up and delivered (and located across from the Marriott) would simply be too easy a target. I would almost feel as if I were picking on a 10-year-old were I to be critical of it or any of the other crap buildings from which fast food is sold.


  1. It is rather humorous (but mostly sad) to see one of the last remaining beauties, the Masonic Temple at 16th and West End be demolished and replaced with a mosquito pit. I moved from Charlotte NC five years ago, and I can tell you the city leaders would not have stood for anything like that. For shame!

  2. The Charlotte city leaders would not stand for that cause they tore everything down years ago. There is nothing historical to speak of. So, anything older than 10 years they have to preserve.

  3. Agreed on the loss of the Masonic Temple. Unfortunate.

    And I've visited Charlotte three times during the past 18 years and have noticed (while taking some extensive drives through the Queen City) it seemingly has fewer historic civic buildings than Nashville (not that Nashville has that many either).

    On a positive note, Charlotte has a done a very strong job (better than Nashville) with its contemporary architecture.