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, December 27, 2011

Creating Places: Ratings game

Following is one man's rating of Nashville's five best mixed-use, walkable urban districts. Note: For this exercise, I excluded those districts within "downtown" (SoBro, The Gulch, Rolling Mill Hill/Rutledge Hill and the central business district).

Here we go:

1. Hillsboro Village
2. Five Points
3. Elliston Place (seen here)
4. Germantown
5. 12South

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creating Places: 12South newcomer

Hill Realty and Southeast Venture are joining forces to develop this building, slated to rise next to 12South Taproom.

I like it. Has a well defined base, midsection and cap. Nice forms, color and materials (looks to be charcoal brick, panels or tiles of some sort, lots of glass and some metal). Very contemporary. Nice.

Of note, Southeast Venture designed Bell Midtown (formerly 1700 Midtown), an industrial-themed apartment building on State Street. Most people I've talked to regarding Bell Midtown either thoroughly like or dislike its design. Place me in the camp of the former. I predict Southeast Venture will do well with the unnamed 12South structure.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Creating Places: Med Mart musings

Yesterday I bumped into a local architect who remains cautiously optimistic about the Nashville Medical Trade Center. The architect, whom I will not name but will note is not a member of the Gresham Smith & Partners team (GS&P is designing the mart), said the facility could be a game-changer for downtown on various levels. I agree.

I see the chances of the NMTC materializing as 50-50.

Creating Places: Shining with Seanachie

The rehabbing of the building formerly home to Seanachie Irish pub (located on the southeast corner of the Broadway and Fourth Avenue intersection and seen here before renovation began) is taking shape nicely. I like the choice of windows. This is a large structure at a very prominent location. It needs to shine.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Creating Places: Austin mulls mass transit

Click here for an interesting read regarding Austin and its efforts to land a modern streetcar.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creating Places: Color coordinated?

The new elevator shaft that will allow folks on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge to access the soon-to-be-finished Cumberland Park is sheathed in a very cool green glass. In contrast, and on the other side of the bridge, the historic NaBriCo Building has a back-side appendage that, though of an interesting shape and material, is an anything-but attractive maroon/rust. The juxtaposition is a bit jarring but nothing compared to the hideous color collision seen with the nearby Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks. The severed-segment-of-a-roller-coaster-like public art piece combines a brownish-crimson with a fire engine red in what ranks as one of the most grotesque color combos found in the city.

No doubt: Color is a key element of our built environment.