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

It's past midnight and slumber is not visiting me easily. As such, I thought I would make a quick post.

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.







10 comments:

  1. This building HAD potential, but it clearly shows that they cut many corners to save $. The windows do look cheap and flimsy, but the lack of brick on the sides is what really brings this one down. Even the siding job looks botched! Grade: D

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  2. The siding does not complement the brick. It looks like the builder ran out of money halfway through construction and had to use siting in patches to save money.

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  3. The "X" shape on the balconies is an odd choice, as though the building is saying "No" a few times to passers by.

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    1. AMous,

      Excellent observation. I agree.

      WW

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  4. The siding is atrocious! In the photo, the siding looks like cheap vinyl siding and not hardie plank siding. I agree about the "X" shapes on the balcony railing. Great neighborhood, poor building.

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    1. AMous,

      It does look like vinyl base on this photo. However, there is an urban design overlay (UDO) in HWEP, so we can assume it's Hardie siding.

      WW

      Delete
  5. Looks like it belongs in Bellevue or Mt. Juliet, not West End Park.

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  6. Agree with the above. This a cheap suburban building that will look ghastly a few short years from now. Wait until the vinyl siding mildews and molds after a year or so.

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  7. Piece of crap that shouldn't have been allowed. I would be ashamed to live in this building. It would make others think I don't care about architecture.

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  8. Strong comments from our posters. Nobody held back.

    WW

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