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, June 1, 2011

Creating Places: Omni Groundbreaking

It's official. A groundbreaking ceremony for SoBro's long-awaited Omni Hotel is slated for Thursday, June 16, at 10 a.m.

The site of the event — which is dubbed The Key to Music City — is the site on which the approximately 285-foot-tall building will rise.

I rarely attend such cliched festivities but might check this one just to see if some Omni bigwig notes, as happened when the company first announced it was coming to Nashville, that Omni Inc. "really is the best company in this industry" (or something along those predictable lines).

My cynicism aside, I am looking forward to seeing this project start and hope that renderings of the future hotel — images that suggest a very understated and uninspired exterior design — prove inaccurate and that Nashville receives, instead, an unexpectedly attractive tower.


  1. The rendering of this hotel is nothing special.

  2. The rendering of the Omni is about as bland is chewing on paper. I live in the Washington, DC area but grew up in Nashville. I still follow pretty much everything that happens there. I'm so happy to see the SoBro area develop. It's long overdue. Unfortunately, architects missed out on an opportunity to take Nashville out of the ho-hum to the WOW!!!. The MCC is modern and from the renderings appear to have visual appeal from many angles and viewpoints. The Omni Hotel on the otherhand looks like another box with a facade elements to make it look... well, like a box with facade elements. There's nothing that stands out as dramatic architecture with this building. Viewing structures that are being built around the world, I had hoped that someone would end Nashville's boxiness and elevate the architecture to a level that would leave people remembering their stay in a fabulously designed building. The rendering we've seen says... typical, box hotel. The Gaylord Hotel in The National Harbor down river from DC would fit better and it too isn't that fantastic, except at night it looks great with the changing colored lighting that shines upon the building.

    To say the least I'm hoping that Omni will unveil a brand new design during the ground breaking.