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, November 4, 2012

Creating Places: Bill Cobb highlights Pinnacle, Encore

A quick hit as I ponder which I would prefer, hypothetically, to see instantly added to Nashville's built form: 1. A majestic 900-foot-tall neo-art deco skyscraper or 2. Ten handsome mixed-use buildings in the five- to eight-story range and sprinkled throughout downtown and Midtown. (I lean toward Choice No. 2. but Choice No. 1 is surely tempting.)

Respected aerial photographer Bill Cobb, on his website, has updated his Nashville section to include photos of The Pinnacle at Symphony Place and Encore. Apparently, Bill visited the city recently and took the various shots from the ground (and not from a plane, which is his trademark and preferred mode of work). Bill, who is based in Kansas City, is a good man who submits quality work. I'm not sure when he added these photos, as I haven't visited the website in at least six months (and maybe as much as a year).

Take a look here.


  1. For me, that's an easy one. Nashville needs a super-tall building downtown. Far better than a bunch of 5-8 story structures sprinkled across the city.

  2. Nice images of Nashville. I did notice that many of them are quite out of date. I see the Bell South logo atop the Batman building, and the Music City City is nowhere. I'm guessing these pics are 4-5 years old.

  3. Some are quite up to date, showing the new park and the renovated Nabrico(sp?) building.
    Happily, the broken ferris wheel art thingy is not prominent.

    Very nice overall.

    I'd prefer the 5-8 spread out thru the city, and not just the downtown; there's more to this fine city than the tourist district.

  4. A-Mous 7:21AM,

    As to a super tall vs. "a bunch" of five- to eight-story structures, the question is: How many is "a bunch"? If only, say, seven to 10, I likely would agree with you. However, if "a bunch" is, say, 40 to 50 five- to eight-story (and many mixed-use) buildings vs. a super tall, give me the 40 to 50. All you have to do is go to Portland Ore. and you'll see what I mean. No super tall, but that city is building dense, vibrant and European like. Very cool place.


  5. I'm split between density and a bit of openness. Even in NYC you have some areas that are open. I think Nashville needs more tall buildings period even if they create density. Washington, DC is pretty dense because of height restrictions. Now congress and city officials will be evaluating if the height restrictions should remain in place to the degree that they are because the city is running out of land. And, while they are trying to protect views of the Capitol and Washington Monument, they realize that there are areas of the city that would never afford a view of those structures anyway. So, why have the restrictions?

    Ten 5-8 story buildings spread around downtown and mid-town will cause a reduction in the amount of land available for building. I'd rather see Nashville add 10 MAJOR buildings of 20-65 stories. Downtown is prime for several more major office towers. I also think the east bank of downtown should be developed with mixed use buildings ranging from 10-30 stories. Mid-towns density should come from developments that are a minimun of 10 stories. And, to further compliment the new Summit development along West End, it would be great to see 5-10 buildings that are in the 20+ category. These buildings should be built between Charlotte Pike, Church Street and West End. By doing this you actually create a city with two skylines and you add to the density without sacrificing valuable land for future infill projects.