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, January 13, 2013

Creating Places: A space without greenery

The below photo reveals one of the most harsh — yet strikingly visually arresting — hardscapes found within Nashville's central business district. I took the photo standing near the sidewalk at Charlotte Avenue and with the Rachel Jackson and Andrew Jackson buildings on my right and left, respectively, in the foreground. In the background is the underrated Nashville City Center (with its First Tennessee signage) and a sliver of the dark-glass-clad James K. Polk Office Building, which I once found appealing yet now consider a semi-abomination (with its poorly defined entrance, odd cap and brutalized street-level forms). Cold and uninviting, this off-the-beaten path portion of downtown somehow manages to lure me toward its cavernous form any time my exercise walks find me within its vicinity.


  1. "Without greenery"? Ahem, did you happen to notice the trees in the planters?

  2. Hmmm...."harsh" .... it's January in the dead of winter! I see plenty of planted trees in the plaza and along the street. Exactly what one would expect to see.

  3. Don't try so hard for posts. There is little if any insight or anything of note in this post.

  4. Good points about the trees. Hawkins Partners did a fine job with the Deaderick Street streetscape project update and the green will return.

  5. Indeed, Deadrick Street looks great compared to just a few years ago with all the bus shelters.

  6. I think the point stands in regards to the vast amount of concrete contained in the frame.

    1. I failed to stress that the harsh hardscape is between the two Jackson buildings. Thanks for getting the point.


  7. I liked the bus shelters. They were overcapacity but Deadrick St is now sterile