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.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creating Places: Looking at Lentz

At top is the current Lentz Public Health Center, located on 23rd Ave. N. On the bottom is a rendering of the planned replacement facility, to  front Charlotte Avenue at 26th Avenue North. Interestingly, I see a few similarities. Both buildings are more horizontal than vertical, and the new structure seemingly will have a modest percentage of its facade comprised of glass (much like the original). Lastly, both buildings incorporate a light (as opposed to dark) color palette. Of note, I would have preferred more height for the new structure. In addition, and potentially a negative, the new Lentz will have no buildings near it and, as such, could seem a bit awkward in its less-than-building-lively setting. I do like the signage on the far left and the vertical piece splitting the building's entrance. Though not visible due to the image's limited size, the signage on that component reads Metropolitan Health Department and should be eye-catching. The good folks at Gresham Smith and Partners designed the new structure and have done a very solid job. Grade: B-plus.


  1. Thanks for a passing grade teach!

  2. A-Mous,

    Semester has ended. Enjoy the summer.


  3. The rendering looks frightfully suburban in style. Perhaps that is because there is nothing around the building. But the squatty dimensions and the front "plaza" look like everything else one would find in Cool Springs. No doubt this building will be ignored by bypassers.

  4. Not impressed. At best a C. Uninspired. Basic design. College students majoring in Architecural Design could have drafted that design after one or two semesters. Looks more like a suburban clinic. Which might be what they were going for. Of course I'm sure budget restraints limited their design options.

  5. I have to agree with PillowTalk4. This design is bo-ring. It's square, industrial, and uninviting. Intentional, to ward off those in need of public health? I also agree with WW: let's have some height, please! Why perpetuate the suburban-sprawl concept? Isn't Nashville striving for a dynamic urban core? I'm surprised Mayor Dean gave this one a passing grade.

  6. As built it looks better than the above rendering. Pretty good for a metro building and for a public health department, Bilbao public heatlh is more striking but not necessarily better looking--.