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, 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.

9 comments:

  1. That "anything-but attractive maroon/rust" interesting shape represents the bottom of a barge! I think it is kinda cool...

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  2. A-Mous,

    Agree. The piece overall (shape, massing, material) is cool. I'm just not a fan of the color. Typically, I don't care for shades of red in architecture. Check the red light fixtures at LP Field. Jarring. I supposed one could argue the NaBriCo piece's maroon is "earthy." It doesn't look bad, but a different color might have been better.

    WW

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  3. is there going to be some sort of sign explaining the building turd represents a barge

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  4. I am particularly not a fan of the "barge". I understand it is meant to cover a circulation tower, but it just feels so heavy and out of scale against the stark white building. I wish the circulation tower could have been more transparent. Or, even designed or articulated to allow more focus on the building. It competes so heavily as it is.

    Honestly, I believe Hastings is being a little self-indulgent. This project as a whole (including the glass elevator) far extends its purpose. Its a multimillion dollar project for a very small amount of usable square footage. Its going to be Metro Park's offices for crying out loud! That glass elevator is going to be maintenance nightmare for Metro to handle.

    William you are correct on red. It's a terrible choice for any architectural piece. It always fades to pink. If its used, it needs to be sparingly.

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  5. A-Mous(es),

    Well, it seems the "barge" is not liked. As noted, I'm OK with it overall but could have lived without.

    AMous No. 3. Great point about red fading to pink. When Alice Aycock made the choice of fire engine red for Ghost Ballet, I cringed.

    WW

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  6. Red and black always fade, especially if the black contains more red than yellow.

    Paint the Aycock piece chocolate brown with some blue highlights. This would be stellar. BTW, I always thought the red on the Titans Stadium looked hideous. Black would have been better with some silver highlights, but I guess that would be reminiscent of the Oakland Raiders with black and silver. At least it's not Rocky Top Orange thank God!

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  7. I wish red was not used to highlight the steel under the Woodland and James Robertson bridges over the river. Just think it looks rather redneck in combination with LP fields red lights. Who makes these color choices? Maybe a consult with a designer would be beneficial. I think the Korean Veterans bridge arch would be a wonderful place for tasteful color instead of gray. Have any of you noticed that the underside of the I40 overpasses spanning Hermitage Ave are being painted University of Kentucky blue? Yet another addition to our colorful pallet!!!

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