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 18, 2012

Creating Places: A tower for Green Hills

Earlier this week, Southern Land announced its plans to develop in Green Hills (see details here). As many of you know, SL is developing Elliston 23 near Vanderbilt. That building, which I estimate is two-thirds completed is nicely taking shape.

A few points regarding the proposed Green Hills development:

1. The building (unnamed as of now) reminds me to some extent of Icon in The Gulch. In fact, at quick glance, the rendering suggests a view of Icon from the southwest corner of the 12th Avenue South and Division Street intersection.

2. On the Icon theme, I am not a fan, generally, of buildings that have brick-framed glass segments (as seen below in the mid-section of the tower portion) that interact with larges masses of glass. Perhaps this won't be brick but, instead, a tile of some sort. That would be preferable.

3. The mixed-use (office, retail, residential) format is strong. For comparison, Gulch mid-rise Terrazzo has the same combination and it seemingly works well. Of course, Terrazzo is a condo building. This structure will offer rental apartments. Still, the formula can be successful, particularly in Green Hills.

4.  I assume the office portion of the building includes the two floors above the retail (in the foreground of the image). That would be an effective physical arrangement.

5. The roof shows an eaves-like configuration at the tower's top front (seen in upper-left corner of the image). Very nice.

6. The color scheme (silvers, blues and browns) would work much better without the browns, which, again, I assume will be brick. With silvers and blues only, much like Roundabout Plaza (see here), the building would look much more sleek.

7. If Green Hills is going to land a mid-rise, this might be an ideal spot (extra traffic notwithstanding), as the building would anchor the eastern segment of the GH commercial district while the modernist (even brutalist) Green Hills Apartments for Retired Teachers (seem photo here) holds court on the west side. The visual balance might be nice.

Overall grade: B


  1. I hope their is plenty of underground parking. This will be a good anchor for all the newly redeveloped shopping and office buildings on Richard Jones Rd. I'm certain this will do very well in Green Hills and Southern Land Co. has a great track record of quality.

  2. Should be a quality project. And I would think there will be ample underground parking.


  3. William, I want a more dense, urban Green HIlls, but I have serious concerns about the appropriateness about a fourteen story building in Green Hills right now. Don't you think this seems out of context?