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, May 29, 2013

Creating Places: USN's Hassenfeld Library

A quick post as I ponder who would be the the more noteworthy "unwitting hipster" were he, hypothetically, to wander into a random East Nashville bar: an elderly Mennonite gentleman or Fred Rogers, circa 1970.

The Hassenfeld Library on the University School of Nashville campus ranks among the best buildings constructed within the city since 2000. There are so many characteristics of the structure's exterior that I find appealing — include the brick color, the stone touches, the engraved "Hassenfeld Library" (seen in the lower photo along the roof line) and the 12-paned traditional windows.

But two elements stand out: 1. the building's contemporary segment (seen on the left half of Hassenfeld in the photo below) interacts effectively with the otherwise traditional design, thus allowing the admirer to realize that this is a "new building" that pays tribute to a timeless style. My only criticism is that the contemporary piece is a tad too large. 2. The building plays nicely off the other, and older, USN structures (they are not seen in the first photo). Given Hassenfeld, which opened in 2004, physically connects with its stately counterparts, a seamless symbiotic relationship is important.

If anybody knows the architect (I Google searched with no luck), please ID.

Grade: A-minus











12 comments:

  1. David Plummer with Everton Oglesby Architects did this building. Although the firm is EOA Architects now, David Plummer is now a Principal at Centric Architecture in the Trolley Barns on Rolling Mill Hill.

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    Replies
    1. CA,

      Good to know. David deserves much credit.

      WW

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  2. I fail to see anything really spectacular about this building. Nice, but nothing noteworthy. I'd rate it a solid "B"

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  3. Anon,
    It's a well crafted building. I encourage you to take a closer look.
    http://www.eoa-architects.com/edu-usn.html

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  4. It looks like a hybrid of a school, a church and some type of municipal building. I'm sure its well crafted, but it appeals bland. I mostly dislike the dark contemporary windows -- they just don't seem to fit.

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    Replies
    1. AMous,

      Others have said the same thing. I'm OK with the window but, in fairness, I can understand the criticism.

      WW

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  5. It looks very typical of buildings found on campuses everywhere. It could easily be one of the many newer buildings found at Lipscomb, Belmont or MTSU.

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  6. AMous,

    I disagree. Belmont's new buildings that are clad in brick don't look as traditional as this building. I've been a bit disappointed with some of the new stuff at LU. A bit underwhelming. Neither stately nor eye-catching. I've seen some of the newish MTSU buildings and they are fine but, again, not as traditional overall as Hassenfeld.

    WW

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  7. IMO, the black contemporary style windows don't make this a traditional looking building. I also really dislike the odd recessed cutouts in several places where it appears that windows should be found.

    Jane

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  8. Jane,

    As noted, the building has elements of traditional design but is not fully traditional. The recessed window-shaped elements (though not ideal) were likely necessary given this is a library and, as such, some wall space was needed. But I could be wrong.

    WW

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  9. Here is the link from EOA

    http://www.eoa-architects.com/edu-usn.html

    ReplyDelete