Guest 5th & Main Urbanite

Federal Courthouse

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I'm thinking "Strings" for the Federal Courthouse. 

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Not to be Debbie Downer [again], but " my Chief said that we are first on the list to have a new Courthouse built" has been the case for at least a dozen years.  As I understand it, the money to build keeps getting earmarked for other projects, in part because Jim Cooper doesn't believe in earmarks.  We've been at the top of the "need" list since well before Congress named the new courthouse for Bill Frist.

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Not to be Debbie Downer [again], but " my Chief said that we are first on the list to have a new Courthouse built" has been the case for at least a dozen years.  As I understand it, the money to build keeps getting earmarked for other projects, in part because Jim Cooper doesn't believe in earmarks.  We've been at the top of the "need" list since well before Congress named the new courthouse for Bill Frist.

I've never understood why Cooper is even in Congress, he could make just as much of a nuisance of himself anywhere else and leave the seat open for someone who actually wants to represent Nashville and its interests.

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I'm sorry to disagree with you, PH, but it's just as close to hideous as they come. It's bad in the way of so many of the current "modernist" (or is it post-modernist ? It's all just words for incoherent and/or ugly) apartment buildings rising around town claiming to be "edgy", but come off looking cheap.

I'd personally like to know what inspired the architect to build a giant cherry picker on the back of the structure. Is it a salute to the NES line workers ? Picasso, Gehry, they just don't do much for me. Calatrava is a bit better, but I don't think we're going to want a giant sloop in downtown.

I also don't know why the building is so damn short. 7 stories (or is it 8 ?), it's an underutilization for that block on Church Street (even if it had a good design). At minimum, it should be 20-25. It also should be classical in design. I'm a huge fan of the Second Empire style. We had many examples of that in the city that have since been demolished, and I think that is a style that should be resurrected for our era. Even Art Deco or Art Moderne would be preferable.

I think of courthouses, they should look the part and not like a subpar hotel/conference center from the 1990s.

Now this is a courthouse, this is what we should aspire to. This is the old Marion County/Indianapolis Courthouse.
marion_hyman_1897.jpg

It was shamefully demolished for a modernist/International-style glass tower in the 1960s. Its loss is nothing short of appalling...
4867129085_163cdf7d7e_z.jpg

It even stood side-by-side with it for a brief period before its demolition...
courthouses.jpg

Having seen Michael Graves' work in the Portland example, I think this is one bullet the city should dodge.

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^^The Marion County Courthouse was a horrific loss, made even harder to swallow once you realize that the old structure wasn't even demolished for the new courthouse itself, as shown in the final picture.  It was demolished for the lifeless plaza NEXT TO the courthouse.  Simply appalling. 

Edited by BnaBreaker

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Ok. I guess this is maybe old news, but driving by this site yesterday, I noticed that several of the existing building had been demolished and they were bulldozing the site. Did we know this was happening?

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Yes.  Clearing the lot of some buildings that had been condemned as dangerous.  Those buildings will be razed and replaced by surface parking until the Federal Courthouse is built.  So basically, those sites will be surface parking for an eternity.

Edited by bwithers1
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I still absolutely love the Knoxville US Courthouse.  Fits so perfectly in with the old Federalist architecture of downtown.  Nashville would need a much larger facility, of course, but I love it when they go with the classic route for buildings like that. 

 

Courthouses and other buildings housing important government institutions should inspire confidence, permanence, and reverence; temples like those of Strickland.  I understand that the Portland Building was a rejection of the cookie cutter butchering of the Bauhaus ideal, and therefore was an important piece of architecture history. But, to be frank, it's hideously gaudy: as if art deco put on legwarmers and a slap bracelet in order to join the 80s. 

 

Much of Graves's work seems overdone, disorienting, and offensive to the senses due to its rejection of balance and proportion.  Both of the other examples listed above (the Humana Building and the UC building) are not things I'd want to ever see done in Nashville.

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The Knoxville US Courthouse was built by Chris Whittle (Esquire, 13-30, Channel ONE fame) as a Corp. HQ for Whittle Communications. When Christ moved the HQ to NYC (the back house operations are in Riverview Tower in downtown Knoxville). The campus was a steal for the US government as the property required only security upgrades and some customization. 

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/when-whittle-could-do-no-wrong

 

10543_4427849_ver1.0_640_480.JPG

 

I still absolutely love the Knoxville US Courthouse.  Fits so perfectly in with the old Federalist architecture of downtown.  Nashville would need a much larger facility, of course, but I love it when they go with the classic route for buildings like that. 

 

Courthouses and other buildings housing important government institutions should inspire confidence, permanence, and reverence; temples like those of Strickland.  I understand that the Portland Building was a rejection of the cookie cutter butchering of the Bauhaus ideal, and therefore was an important piece of architecture history. But, to be frank, it's hideously gaudy: as if art deco put on legwarmers and a slap bracelet in order to join the 80s. 

 

Much of Graves's work seems overdone, disorienting, and offensive to the senses due to its rejection of balance and proportion.  Both of the other examples listed above (the Humana Building and the UC building) are not things I'd want to ever see done in Nashville.

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Knoxville has 3 Federal courthouses, the old Courthouse and Post Office is now owned by the State and houses the Tennessee Supreme and Courts of Appeal, the former Whittle building that currently houses the Federal courts, and, in between, the Duncan Federal Building, that houses government agency offices.  For interior beauty, nothing competes with the old Courthouse.  It is where, among other historic events, the TVA was held to be a constitutional use of federal power.  Kudos to those in federal, state and local governments who made it possible for the old Courthouse and the Whittle Building to remain useful public spaces.

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Much of Graves's work seems overdone, disorienting, and offensive to the senses due to its rejection of balance and proportion.  Both of the other examples listed above (the Humana Building and the UC building) are not things I'd want to ever see done in Nashville.

 

I'd love to see something as bold as the Humana building or the UC building in Nashville.  That UC building looks great, it reminds me for some reason of the Battersea Power Station in London which I would really love to have here. 

 

Now obviously these buildings are out of style at the moment but you can't look at architecture the way you look at clothes.

 

We have some pretty grim buildings in this town, lots of grey and white boxes.  I'm looking forward to the SoBro.  And I'm glad the little diner is taking a bite out of its boxy base.

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Well, two of the buildings are down now. All that is left is the parking garage, the old 8 story gray building formerly a state office building and prior to that, a retail store, and the Berger Building.

 

I have a friend in Bennie Dillon, and for what it is worth he says the building has been told the courthouse is imminent. I asked him about the large lot in front of the old library building, and that is being looked at as well.

 

I think the Berger Building is to stay, but we won't know at this point. That is the kind of building that can be replicated. A 100 foot Federal Courthouse building will loom large on the lot, although I prefer something 300 feet on that lot.

 

I did take a closer look at the rendering and it appears the Berger Building is gone.

Edited by Urban Architecture

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i live in the bennie dillon and i've not heard anything about the courthouse.

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i live in the bennie dillon and i've not heard anything about the courthouse.

My friend who lives in Bennie Dillon works for the State. Maybe that is where he heard it. Not sure.

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Okay, last night at a cocktail party I received another confirmation that the FC project is ramping-up. The Chief-of-Staff of one of our US Reps. (not Cooper) said that it is on the way. Hope they are right....

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Glad to hear this. I think the Burger building is still safe. Correct????

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Okay, last night at a cocktail party I received another confirmation that the FC project is ramping-up. The Chief-of-Staff of one of our US Reps. (not Cooper) said that it is on the way. Hope they are right....

 

LOL... wasn't surprised that it was not a Cooper staff member... as he's absolutely good for nothing.  He just takes up space on the back row.  He probably knows nothing about the courthouse. 

Edited by MLBrumby

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Okay, last night at a cocktail party I received another confirmation that the FC project is ramping-up. The Chief-of-Staff of one of our US Reps. (not Cooper) said that it is on the way. Hope they are right....

hmmmm, we have been hearing this since 1992....I'll remain cautiously optimistic.

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Update:

 

The old Sears building is coming down. Demo starts today and should take 2-3 weeks. Courthouse prep per the Homewood Suites and Renaissance Hotel staff.

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Do we have a confirmed rendering for this yet?

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Do we have a confirmed rendering for this yet?

 

For now, assume it's the one we've had for a couple years now.

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