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, June 30, 2013

Creating Places: A few thoughts

After having just returned from enjoying at Dan McGuinness the underrated Molly Ramone perform a solid version The Pogues' classic Irish sing-alone "Sally MacLennane," I ask the following:

* Is it necessary for AT&T to have with its soon-to-open building at 19th and West End avenues both a pole sign and signs affixed to the south and east walls? This is "signage overkill" at its most glaring.

* Did the fine folks at White Lodging ever stop to think that, before they had their Hyatt Place hotel designed for SoBro, a neutral stucco would look horrendous?

* Does the person who continues to tag the Demonbreun Viaduct and various buildings in The Gulch realize that committing a crime for which there is no monetary gain is the ultimate in idiocy? And if this social deviant is 18 or older (which, sadly, might very well be the case), his level of dumbassery is staggering.

* Do you cringe when you walk, bike or drive pass the Comfort Inn near the Music Row Roundabout — courtesy of the building's pathetic looking fiddles adoring the exterior walls?

* How many Nashvillians are extremely concerned about the possible loss of the Edwin Keeble-designed United Methodist Publishing House building located at the southwest corner of the Eight Avenue South and Demonbreun Street intersection in SoBro? Learn more here about the man who was arguably this city's greatest architect.

* Should I be uncomfortable admitting I'm enjoying the latest Black Sabbath album?


  1. I agree 100% about the fiddles on the exterior of the Comfort Inn. Hopefully they will be removed with the current renovation under way.

    1. AMous,

      Those fiddles represent so much about our contemporary society that I find unappealing. Interestingly, I love the fiddle when used in bluegrass and Celtic music.


  2. 1) I love the term "dumbassery"!
    2) Nashville abounds with signage overkill. It's the American way, individual freedom to do whatever the f___ one wants. Contrast European cities, virtually unmarred by ubiquitous advertising.
    3) What's up with the UMPH Building? Is it slated for demolition? If so, it would follow in Music City's long-standing tradition of obliterating our history. So little remains... shame on us! It's not like Nashville had a really rough childhood that it's trying to forget.
    - Lee

    1. Lee,

      We will have to wait to see what the future fate holds for the UMPH Building. I am not optimistic.