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.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Creating Places: A look at the Fairfield Inn
First, I'm hearing criticisms ranging from "drab" to "generic" to "lacking color" to "blockish." And while I can understand how folks might feel this way, I have a very different take.
I actually find this to be a fairly attractive building. The color scheme of white, silver and medium gray gives the building a sleek and slightly industrial look, which is well suited for the Gulch. Even the blue signage is a tasteful hue. Were there some black, I would be very pleased. In short, I like buildings with "cool" colors, as those shades lend a structure a certain permanence. Interestingly, the Fairfield ever so slightly mimics the Hutton Hotel (I suppose, in part, because of the color scheme).
As to the aforementioned signage (three areas sport signs), it is nicely proportionate in relation to the overall mass of the building.
Here's a nice touch for a basic hotel (and not necessarily commonly done effectively): the building has a well defined base, mid-section and cap. Very nicely executed.
Lastly, the back right side and the front portion in the darker gray extend from the main walls to provide some variation in shape (and lessen the harshness of what otherwise would have been a flat-faced facade and side).
On a somewhat negative note — and props to my good friend Brett Withers, who pointed this out on Urban Planet Nashville — the entrance is not as visible as would be ideal.
Overall, a solid offering. I grade a C-plus to a B-minus.