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, November 15, 2012

Creating Places: My take on Westmont Apartments

As the night winds down and following a reading of a review of the recent Who concert in Brooklyn (should be a stellar show at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 2), I offer a few thoughts on the exterior design of the proposed, and tentatively named, Westmont Apartments. (See details about the project here.)

1. The building shows impressive massing. In fact, it is horizontal enough that an additional floor would be nice so as to allow the structure to yield a more effective height-to-width ratio.

2. I like the amount of brick. The rendering suggests the building will be about 80 percent brick. I'm not certain about the other materials but I hope the base is made of stone (and not concrete).

3. On the base theme, notice how the upper floors at each of the various segments are well defined. Overall, there is nice proportionality.

4. The prominent main entrance and how it addresses a corner is a highlight. Very well done.

5. To the left and at the highest point on the side of that segment, we see an interesting traditional roof line element that, I assume, is a nod to the historic design features of the few old-school masonry buildings remaining in West End Park. Similarly, the structure does a solid job of combining traditional and contemporary elements (a fine example of the latter being the aforementioned entrance with its metal doors and metal awnings).

6. The top floors sport black metal railings framing what appear to be windows. I'm not optimistic that feature will be effective.

Overall grade: B



  1. Looks great! It will be a big improvement for this increasingly hot in-town neighborhood. I give it a B+ at minimum, maybe even A-. Too early to tell.

  2. WW.......How about that 14 floor apartment tower just announced in Green Hills? That's a biggie! Any info on that project?

  3. repeat of my comment that somehow didn't post? Looks like every other one built in the last 5 years of its type. Is this all from a blueprint magazine? Boring.

  4. A-Mous 7:45AM,

    That is baffling. I saw your original comment and now it's gone. Odd.

    Agree this building is unadventurous in its exterior design. But do recall West End Park has a fairly strict urban design overlay that will limit developers and architects.



  5. It's not a bad design for Nashville. The developers there tend to favor a "faux historic" look and the new apartments all pretty much look the same.

    I lived there for two years and it breaks my heart to know they tore down the tall trees that cooled my apartment all summer long. Thanks to those trees, my electric bill was only $60 a month during the hottest summers and I had the air conditioning on 24/7.

    I'll bet that Vandy students won't be able to afford the new rents and that the electric bills will orbit into the $150 to $200 a month range.

    So glad I left before the hipsters move in. The Westmont was funky and fun and had tons of parking.