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, April 11, 2012

Creating Places: The Southgate

Of all Nashville's post-2000-completed urban infill buildings with a primarily traditional design, the Southgate (located at 3821 West End Ave.) ranks in my top five (see ranking below). Just about every feature of this dignified building (materials, massing, proportionality, color contrast, etc.) is attractive — yet in an understated manner. I suppose you could quibble by contending the structure is a bit "window heavy" and perhaps lacks an extremely well-defined roof line. Still, the Southgate, developed by Rochford Realty and Construction Co., strikes a handsome presence on the city's west side. Much like the music of Widespread Panic, the underrated Southgate is tasteful and will age well.

My five favorite post-2000 infill buildings with strong nods to traditional design:

1. Schermerhorn Symphony Center
2. Covenant Presbyterian Church (except for all the surface parking surrounding it) (located in Green Hills) (check this photo)
3. "New" Jacksonian (located on West End Avenue and near The Southgate) (I acknowledge this high ranking is blasphemous, given the controversy involving the long-lamented and original Jack, to many built fabric aficionados.)
4. The Astoria (located in Bedford Commons in Green Hills)
5. The Southgate


  1. It is an attractive building, and I like the stacked bay windows on each end. However, the partial pediment over the middle of the building looks to me incomplete. When I see materials that are not extended to a "logical point", it strikes me as a "cost saving" measure. In this case, it appears that their budget did not cover the cost of making the limestone pediment go all the way end-to-end between each brick pilaster.

  2. Myron,

    Excellent points. And you very well might be correct on the budget consideration.

    Thanks for the feedback,


  3. The Bedford Commons area in Green Hills is shaping up nicely. My favorite of all is the "new" Jacksonian condos -- I'd love to live there.

    I was downtown earlier this week and saw that the Omni Hotel is rising nicely. How tall will it be - 20 stories? Should fill in the skyline in SoBro nicely, about the same height as the Encore condo building?

    The Korean Veterans Blvd. will be an important new corridor when it's completed next year, running alongside the Music City Center and Omni. Can't wait to see how the roundabout at 8th Ave. handles the traffic flow.

  4. A-Mous,

    Omni is slated for 23 stories and about 285 feet. Agree on Bedford Commons. I like it.


  5. Well, I blanked on some quality buildings that offer mainly traditional design and that were constructed since 2000:

    Main Library
    Vanderbilt Commons
    Belmont University College of Pharmacy Building
    Fourth and Monroe (condos in Germantown)