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.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Creating Places: West End Park addition
The building pictured below was recently completed in Historic West End Park. Fronting the T-intersection of Long Boulevard and Burns Avenue at an interesting angle, the three-story structure (I don't know the name) is of a suitable height and width. I also like both the pronounced eaves (a commonly found feature on the buildings in this residential district) and the brick color.
Now for some design negatives:
* The windows on levels two and three look cheap, almost as if they were pasted on the exterior.
* The building's facade offers poor symmetry as the definition-lacking center (not very visible in this photo) looks awkward both by itself and in relation to the columns that frame it.
* On the proportionality theme, the balconies seem a bit small (perhaps I'm being somewhat picky).
* The siding simply gives the exterior a bland (could be the ubiquitous neutral color) and generic feel, minimizing the otherwise nice effect of the brick. Though I acknowledge there would have been a cost consideration, the building would have looked much better clad fully in brick.
* The structure's sides, as is the case with so many residential buildings designed on a modest budget (which we can safely assume was the case here), are brutal.
During the past 10 years or so, West End Park has been the recipient of residential buildings representing a hodgepodge of styles. Some look quite nice, while others are painfully pedestrian. This building falls into the latter category.
I am curious to get others' thoughts on this design.