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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creating Places: My type of building Part I

I have done a poor job with this blog site, at times, of accurately describing the type contemporary buildings — regarding forms, materials, massings and color schemes — I would like to see in Nashville. Often, I have used terms such as "feminine," "impermanent," "flimsy," etc. to describe area structures that lacked ruggedness and a sleek and/or slightly industrial vibe. On this theme, I found an image (see below) of a residential building in Madrid, Spain, that nicely illustrates the type smaller buildings I would like to see for Nashville as the city moves into this decade. The structure (a name for which I could not determine) is not without its flaws. In particular, the base lacks a clearly defined entrance. Still, this is cool building. It reminds me, ever so slightly, of one of my favorite small urban buildings in Nashville: Laurel House Apartments (visit this site for a nice image of that underrated Gulch mixed-use structure).


12 comments:

  1. Sorry to say but this looks very much like a lot of the cheap small apt buildings put up in Berlin and Barcelona over the past 15 years or so. I've been in both cities a lot and this reminds me so much of late 90s Eurotrash design. A few examples of this in Nashville might be ok, but I certainly do not want to see a wave of such banality as as taken place across a lot of Europe. Most definitely not "my type".......

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  2. AMous 7:45,

    Your points being accurate, the reality nonetheless is that this building would be vastly more eye-catching than most of the similar-sized residential buildings constructed in Nashville since 2000.

    WW

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  3. Sorry WW, but that's not my type of building I think the Laurel House looks cheaply constructed. Too dark and sinister, a little like the Third Man Records building downtown. JT

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    1. JT,

      I'm a fan of the Third Man building. We simply disagree.

      WW

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  4. I also dislike the type of bldg. pictured. Looks bland and cookie cutter in my opinion.

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  5. I get what you're saying Dub Dub. While the Madrid building seems rather unremarkable on the whole, I think it's so much better than a lot of what Nashville has seen in the last decade. The Rhythm, a travesty. The Velocity, WTF? Bristol on Broadway? Yikes. What all these projects have in common is a stylistic grab-bag jumble and cheesy, cheap and chintzy materials. Give me the straightforward simplicity of the Madrid building any day.

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  6. The Madrid building pictured is totally unremarkable and looks cheap.

    I think the Rhythm is Nashville's ugliest new condo and also looks cheaply constructed and just bland.

    The old Continental condo on West End at 440 is the ugliest vintage 1960s era condo in of all of Music City.

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  7. I think there are many better contemporary designs for small apartment buildings. It looks very industrial. I would not want to live in a structure that looks so austere. Perhaps its the dark color and the street level is not at all inviting. Kelly

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    1. Kelly,

      You are correct, but so many of the buildings we gotten since 2000 look "soft," so "austere" is needed.

      WW




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  8. Hate to say it but it looks like some of the cookie cutter ghetto replacement buildings popping up around this country. Nothing truly appealing about it other than it looks better than what it replaced or an empty trash collecting lot.

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  9. I prefer brick, stone, metal, glass, and concrete as opposed to stucco, and wood although they don't stand up to weather. At this point in Nashville, I prefer almost anything to surface lots, abandoned buildings, and urban blight.

    More high rise construction is needed for urban density and reducing carbon footprints, yet Nashville does not seem ready for that or we would have a dozen projects going up i the core at once to address this issue.

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