Creating Places: Nashville’s built environment – at its best

Monday, September 22, 2008 at 2:04am
The Gulch is living up to its promise of recreating the urban neighborhood. Matthew Williams/The City Paper

Editor’s note: This is the final installment of “Creating Places.” William Williams, a member of the staff that launched The City Paper in November 2000, will continue to cover for the newspaper area businesses and issues involving architecture, planning and the public realm.

After about 175 “Creating Places” columns — and countless uses of “gem,” “eyesore,” “hideous,” “jewel,” “dignified,” “unsightly” and “handsome” to describe Nashville’s built fabric — it’s time to conclude this affair. We’ll do so with one man’s look at the city’s manmade highlights.

Best skyscrapers (300 feet or taller)

1. L&C Tower. 2. AT&T Tower. 3. Fifth-Third Center. 4. William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower. 5. Nashville City Center.

Best post-2000 buildings 100–299 feet

1. Roundabout Plaza. 2. Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. 3. Adelicia. 4. VUMC Imaging Sciences Building. 5. Icon.

Best civic outdoor spaces with an urban feel

1. Shelby Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. 2. Centennial Park. 3. Public Square. 4. Bicentennial Mall. 5. Church Street Pocket Park.

Best historic government buildings

1. State Capitol. 2. Hume-Fogg High School. 3. Metro Courthouse. 4. War Memorial Building. 5. Holly Street Fire Hall.

Best 21st-century buildings with a traditional design

1. Schermerhorn Symphony Center. 2. Main Library. 3. A.A. Birch Building. 4. Vanderbilt University Commons. 5 (tie). Covenant Presbyterian Church, Fourth & Monroe, The Maxwell (unfinished) and The Southgate.

Best sleek post-2000 buildings

1. Fifth & Main (unfinished). 2. Tennessee Association of Realtors Building. 3. Mercury View Lofts. 4. East End Lofts. 5 (tie). East Park Community Center and MC3.

Best “handsomely contemporary” 21st-century buildings

1. Vanderbilt Student Life Center. 2. Vanderbilt Ingram Studio Arts Center. 3. Madison Square. 4. Summer Street Lofts. 5 (tie). The West Eastland and Belmont United Methodist Church addition.

Best completed “green buildings”

1. Vanderbilt Commons. 2. Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. 3. Hastings Architecture Associates building. 4. Tennessee Bankers Association building. 5. Morgan Park Place.

Best under-construction large buildings

1. The Pinnacle at Symphony Place. 2. Terrazzo. 3. Rhythm. 4. 1700 Midtown. 5 (tie). Velocity and Music City Central.

Best under-construction small buildings

1. Acropolis. 2. Freeman Webb Building. 3. Downtown YMCA addition. 4. Sixth & Hume. 5. Artesia.

Best Historic Churches

1. Christ Church Cathedral. 2. West End United Methodist Church. 3. Downtown Presbyterian Church. 4. Tulip Street United Methodist Church. 5. The Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Best small-scale mixed-use neighborhood districts

1. Hillsboro Village. 2. Five Points. 3. 12South. 4. Belmont Boulevard and Portland Avenue at Belmont University. 5. Germantown.

Best historic university buildings

1. Jubilee Hall (Fisk). 2. Kirkland Hall (Vanderbilt). 3. Freeman Hall (Belmont). 4. Davis Hall (TSU). 5. Furman Hall (Vanderbilt).

Best streets

1. Broadway/West End Avenue. 2. 21st Avenue. 3. Church Street/Elliston Place. 4. Belmont Boulevard. 5. Jefferson Street.

Best building density

1. Central Business District. 2. Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 3. Midtown. 4. West End Avenue from 21st to I-440. 5. Music Row.

Best recent sports venue designs

1. Hawkins Field (Vanderbilt). 2. Sommet Center. 3. Curb Event Center (Belmont). 4. Allen Fieldhouse (Lipscomb). 5. LP Field.

Best proposed large buildings

1. Signature Tower. 2. West End Summit. 3. Music City Center. 4. Federal Courthouse. 5. 1515 Demonbreun, Lionstone’s Roundabout project.

Best proposed medium/small buildings

1. The Museum of African American Music, Art & Culture. 2. Griffin Plaza. 3. 800Main. 4. 20th and Belcourt in The Village. 5. 5East.

Best advocate of a quality built environment

1. Ann Roberts. 2. Rick Bernhardt. 3. Manuel Zeitlin. 4. Mark Deutschmann. 5. Debbie Frank.

Best urban districts with potential

1. The Gulch. 2. SoBro/Rolling Mill Hill/Rutledge Hill. 3. North Capitol/Germantown. 4. Main Street/Woodland Street/Five Points. 5. Woodbine.

Best lifestyle/town center developments

1. Hill Center in Green Hills. 2. Belle Meade Center. 3. Bedford Commons. 4. Lenox Village.

Best buildings not listed elsewhere

1. Customs House. 2. Frist Center for the Visual Arts. 3. Union Station. 4. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. 5. The Parthenon.

William Williams has been a citizen observer of Nashville’s manmade environment for many of his 46 years. He thanks the readers of this column.

Filed under: City Business
By: DaddyYo on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Best Mall Conversion100 Oaks – Although I would have liked to have seen the original mall back again at least Vanderbilt has the cash to fix the place after the disastrous industrial low tech renovation.Best new unenclosed mallTarget Center Old Hickory Blvd. at Franklin Road – and look the neighbors that lived a half mile away and whined that their $500,000 homes would lose value because of the traffic have not suffered at all.Best outdoor space with a suburban feelAny private backyard on a more than 1/3 acre site.Best salvation of education K-12Any private schoolBest Use of racism to deprive Nashville of quality education opportunities1. Running UT Nashville out of town and giving the downtown UT campus to TSU 2. BusingBiggest liberal politician taxpayer rip off to finance building schemes1.LEED 2. Affordable Housing 3. Nuevo Urbanism 4. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 5. Mixed Use developmentsBest streets1. Any suburban street 2. Any suburban cul de sacWorst large buildings that will never be built1. Signature Tower. 2. West End Summit. Best anti-suburban scam artists 1. Ann Roberts. 2. Rick Heartburn. 3 William Williams 4. David Klienfelter 5. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins 6. Seab TuckBest urban districts for gentrification1. The Gulch. 2. SoBro/Rolling Mill Hill/Rutledge Hill. 3. North Capitol/Germantown. 4. Main Street/Woodland Street/Five Points. 5. Woodbine 6. East Nashville. Best Disenyesque Mayberrys 1. Hill Center in Green Hills. 2. Belle Meade Center. 3. Lenox Village.Worst Suburban Hating Public Servants1. Rick Heartburn 2. David Klienfelter 2. Ann Richards 3. Mike Jameson Best hip and trendy architects or civil engineers who do work and/or live in the suburbs1. Tuck/Hinton Architects 2. Hastings Architectural Associates 3. Hawkins PartnersBest fake private anti-suburban organization1. Nashville Civic Design CenterBest suburban haters1. Kristine Kreyling 2. William Williams 3. Bill Purcell 4. Metro Planning Department 5. Nashville Civic Design CenterBest Insult to Suburbia by the Planning Department1. Lenox Village 2. Outlawing cul de sacs 3. Sub Area Plan ”Visioning” (brainwashing) sessionsBest Places for the Suburban Haters to Move 1. Moscow 2. Portland, OR 3. Charlotte 5. New York City 4. Anywhere outside of Tennessee 5. Flint, MIBest newspaper article exposing the racism of urban liberalsTennessean 9-22-08 "Suspicious person calls" to Police in gentrified neighborhoodsWilliam Williams has been a shill for the socialist back-to-the-city hippies for way to long. Thank God and the MTA he’s gone.What a red letter day for the freedom loving citizens of Nashville. All we can hope is that the rest of the suburb haters take a hint from Mr. Williams and give it up and realize that the majority of Nashville citizens don’t want them or their socialism. Even better, grab a rail and some tar and feathers and run them all out.

By: DaddyYo on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Oh, one moreWorst tax payer boondoggle doomed to failure before it beganMusic City Star

By: DaddyYo on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Check out the Tennesean article about the racist white urbanites.