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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Creating Places: Belmont Close

As I decompress from the excitement of the Memphis vs. Oklahoma City NBA playoff battle, I offer a quick look at Belmont Close.

During the early construction stage of the residential building, located on Wedgewood Avenue and catty-corner from the Belmont University campus, I was concerned that the finished product would offer a hideous street presence. And though the building does contain some flaws and is painfully basic, it is at least a tad more attractive than I expected. For example, the two brick colors interact nicely. The thick base (looks like it might be split-face concrete block, a cheap substitute for stone) and pitched roof deliver a decent bottom and top sandwich for the mid-section, which — in addition to the cleanly contrasting colors — shows solid window-to-facade proportionality. Typically, I don't care for tiny front entrances with steps, but these are acceptable. I don't like the shutters, as they suggest (if you view them at close range) the type shutters found on rural homes.

In short, Belmont Close is very vanilla, with nothing distinctive about its form. But for this type design, I have seen far worse. Given that reality, any building that graded better than an F is a modest success.

Grade: C-minus

(Note: Thanks to local manmade environment enthusiast Ron Brewer for this photo.)


  1. One word:


  2. Bland and boring!

  3. And people will pay a ton to live in that too!

  4. I have heard others speak harshly of the building, so the comments of this trio are not surprising.


  5. A little landscaping/foundation plants will go a long way. Not long enough though.

  6. Maybe not quite "Horrible", but just more gray...

    1. Lee,

      I don't consider it "horrible" either. There are just enough quality elements to make it acceptable. Still, it underachieves on various levels.


  7. In another part of the city this would be called the "projects."