Jump to content

Signature Tower


NewTowner

Recommended Posts

Forgetting what the developer wants to do, government should be focused on what is good for the largest majority of people in the city. It's not clear to me, and evidence supports it, that building a vertical McMansion is the ticket to success.

How does one decide what is "good"? If your definition of good is entitling anyone to live anywhere they want regardless if they earned it or not, then that's out of line with the founding fathers' role of government. We have the liberty to pursue our dreams and property, and if that means if Tony wants to build the Burj Nashville instead of ST and only 1/10 of one percent of Americans can afford to live there, so be it.

It is clear to me, and the evidence supports it that a vertical McMansion is not the ticket to success, but success itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Replies 2.9k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

How does one decide what is "good"? If your definition of good is entitling anyone to live anywhere they want regardless if they earned it or not, then that's out of line with the founding fathers' role of government. We have the liberty to pursue our dreams and property, and if that means if Tony wants to build the Burj Nashville instead of ST and only 1/10 of one percent of Americans can afford to live there, so be it.

It is clear to me, and the evidence supports it that a vertical McMansion is not the ticket to success, but success itself.

Exactly. No way do we want EVERY project in Nashville, or in any city built for all or most of the people. There are those of us that aspire to something special, unusal, or elegant and have the means to afford just that. The Signature Tower fills that bill. Don't worry, Metro, that the city of Nashville becomes a city of huge towering structures downtown with ever sprawling burbs outside. There is a very limited market for structures such as Signature Tower in a city such as Nashville, so there will never be too many like it. That's what will always make it a "Signature" place to live, and those who decide to live there will know that they are living in a place that will probably not be duplicated in Nashville for a long, long time to come. What's wrong with that? It's what has made America great! How dare people be so presumtuous to say you can't or you shouldn't build such a tower. So what if several twenty story towers will better service more people. The marketplace will dictate where people choose to live. Tony is filling a special market niche that most likely would never be provided by any other developer, and I predict Signature Tower will sell out. If Tony is successful in selling this tower, then more power to him. It would be a sign of just how much wealth does exist in Nashville, and the start of an illustrious developing career for Tony Giarratana. If Tony fails, this project could possibly be his undoing. How can you not admire a developer who dares to think big. Who dares to do something that most people think is impossible. Who dares to try something that no other developer would attempt. Who has the ambition, the vision and the drive to see something like this through. The greatest people in the history of the business world were great risk takers. Some failed, and some succeeded. Those that succeeded made a mark on history that will never be forgotton. Here's hoping Tony Giarratana joins that list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exactly. No way do we want EVERY project in Nashville, or in any city built for all or most of the people. There are those of us that aspire to something special, unusal, or elegant and have the means to afford just that. The Signature Tower fills that bill. Don't worry, Metro, that the city of Nashville becomes a city of huge towering structures downtown with ever sprawling burbs outside. There is a very limited market for structures such as Signature Tower in a city such as Nashville, so there will never be too many like it. That's what will always make it a "Signature" place to live, and those who decide to live there will know that they are living in a place that will probably not be duplicated in Nashville for a long, long time to come. What's wrong with that? It's what has made America great! How dare people be so presumtuous to say you can't or you shouldn't build such a tower. So what if several twenty story towers will better service more people. The marketplace will dictate where people choose to live. Tony is filling a special market niche that most likely would never be provided by any other developer, and I predict Signature Tower will sell out. If Tony is successful in selling this tower, then more power to him. It would be a sign of just how much wealth does exist in Nashville, and the start of an illustrious developing career for Tony Giarratana. If Tony fails, this project could possibly be his undoing. How can you not admire a developer who dares to think big. Who dares to do something that most people think is impossible. Who dares to try something that no other developer would attempt. Who has the ambition, the vision and the drive to see something like this through. The greatest people in the history of the business world were great risk takers. Some failed, and some succeeded. Those that succeeded made a mark on history that will never be forgotton. Here's hoping Tony Giarratana joins that list.

Letting the marketplace completely decide where and how people will live has led to the the endless sprawl that we see now these days. Sprawl that is unsustainable and that most people agree on this forum is not a good situation. I for one do not believe that letting developers, whose primary concern is making as much money as possible, decide how cities should be built, is a good idea. This is why you have city planners, zoning, and other governmental organizations that are "supposed" to help guide and plan how a city should be built. The most successful cities in the world, and by success I mean cities that are highly desirable, have taken this approach.

You of course are entitled to your opinion on the matter however I don't think that puts you in the position to call others "presumptuous" who disagree with your views on what makes a good city, especially on an urban discussion forum that is focused on good city building. I was asked for my opinion on what would make a better project, not if and can the Signature Tower should be built, and I gave it. No need to attack me for responding to that request.

------

BTW, for those of you who are watching for signs of "if" this tower will be built, the opening of a sales office where they take on real contracts is a sign they are serious about the project. Now the real test begins because people will have to commit themselves to a real contract where they lose out if they back out. It's that count of sales that will decide if and when this tower goes up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The very wealthy don't often make a habit of broadcasting their every move. Those who cater to the very wealthy don't make a habit of it either. Maybe Keith and Nicole have bought a place. Maybe Oprah has bought one so she won't have to be in the way when she comes home from Thanksgiving. Maybe Donna Summer's in the mood for a place downtown. Michael McDonald might not want to drive all the back to Franklin after dinner or the symphony. Maybe Martha Ingram just wants to look down at the Schermerhorn after the concert. Maybe the hundreds of recording artists who come here to record (sorry to disappoint, but not all country with homes in the Nashville 'burbs) might want a place for their frequent visits instead of schlocking up in some hotel. Does it really matter? Maybe Tim and Faith might want to spend a little of their $100 million way plus income on a cozy little crash pad away from the kids. Maybe Alan Jackson doesn't want to turn on all the lights in that 30,000 sq ft. house and just wants to to take a nap.

My take on the music celebrity buyers in Nashville is little different than yours. Music artists are generally attracted to Nashville because of the great quality of life (read: lack of papparazi) afforded so close to industry talent and record labels. After touring and being mobbed by fans for many months they can retreat to the seclusion of a rural Nashville setting and be left alone to raise their kids and experience a somewhat normal existence. All the while not being far from some of the real city offerings that Nashville boasts. My sense is that if they're looking to shell out big bucks for a city condo it's more likely to be in NYC, LA, Miami or Europe than Church Street (or the gulch for that matter). It's still just too easy to get around here to bother with that steep local premium. If Tony is successful with ST I think it will be more driven by the Ming Wangs of the world than the Nicole Kidmans.

However, I also think Nashville is often overlooked by outsiders as a source of wealth; we probably have more than our fair share considering the relative size of our population. But I don't think the go/no go of the ST should somehow become a litmus test for the vitality of our city. Either way we have a great story to tell and some terrific progress to brag about. But Nashville has never been the boom town that many along the way have often projected it would become. I think that when we look back 15-20 years from now we'll still be known then for what we've experienced to date: the slow and steady growth (and a lack of severe downturns) of a diverse economy compared with higher growth accompanying more volatile ups and downs in other markets. And at the risk of sounding provincial I don't think that's such a bad thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Letting the marketplace completely decide where and how people will live has led to the the endless sprawl that we see now these days. Sprawl that is unsustainable and that most people agree on this forum is not a good situation.

Sprawl was not created solely by the marketplace...it was heavily subsidized by local, state, and federal governments at every level, and was administered from above by regulatory agencies who came to believe that the The Athens Charter and other assorted Modernist dogma was the key to the creation of cities of futuristic mechanical glory.

I know that's a side note, Metro.M, but I had to throw it in there. So many sprawl apologists argue that capitalism and freedom bore the automobile suburbs into this world...when in actuality, pure capitalism and freedom would have kept the government out of the business of financially advocating Modernist town planning principles and we would not have been able to erect sprawl at anything like the scale we have it today. Sprawl is a socialized enterprise. What private developer would build their own road to nowhere--and maintain it over time--just to open up thousands of acres of land they don't own to purely car-oriented development?

I don't like skyscrapers. I think they are cheezy, butt-redneck, and unhealthily out of scale with the human being. The Signature Tower, however...for an obese blubber-mouth of a phallic middle finger...gets a lot of things right. It is embellished, it has ground-level retail, the parking is underground and/or masked (just like other ugly things, like sewage pipes), it will be built with decent materials (unlike the paper-mach

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sprawl was not created solely by the marketplace...it was heavily subsidized by local, state, and federal governments at every level, and was administered from above by regulatory agencies who came to believe that the The Athens Charter and other assorted Modernist dogma was the key to the creation of cities of futuristic mechanical glory.

I know that's a side note, Metro.M, but I had to throw it in there. So many sprawl apologists argue that capitalism and freedom bore the automobile suburbs into this world...when in actuality, pure capitalism and freedom would have kept the government out of the business of financially advocating Modernist town planning principles and we would not have been able to erect sprawl at anything like the scale we have it today. Sprawl is a socialized enterprise. What private developer would build their own road to nowhere--and maintain it over time--just to open up thousands of acres of land they don't own to purely car-oriented development?

I don't like skyscrapers. I think they are cheezy, butt-redneck, and unhealthily out of scale with the human being. The Signature Tower, however...for an obese blubber-mouth of a phallic middle finger...gets a lot of things right. It is embellished, it has ground-level retail, the parking is underground and/or masked (just like other ugly things, like sewage pipes), it will be built with decent materials (unlike the paper-mach

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the Empire State building "cheesy" or "butt-redneck," and if so, how? It's taller than the proposed Signature and I'd use neither term to describe either building, regarless of location or use. Of all the words you could use to generalize a building type, I would think "ostentatious" might be more appropriate for a skyscraper.

edit:

let's define: os.ten.ta.tious - adj. - characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Skyscrapers on Manhattan island are there because of need. i.e. the need to house and to provide workspace for millions on a very small amount of space due to geography. Vanity skyscrapers are built for different reasons and hence are held to different standards because of the environment and what they do to the urban setting they are placed in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You of course are entitled to your opinion on the matter however I don't think that puts you in the position to call others "presumptuous" who disagree with your views on what makes a good city, especially on an urban discussion forum that is focused on good city building.

I don't think that it is presumptuous of anyone that disagrees with any of my views. I expect there are many who do and I'm glad there is. Lord knows I'm not always right. What I consider presumptuous is people that think they should force their views of what is best on the marketplace in general. I think it is presumptuous on anyone's part (including the government's) to dictate everyone live in skyscrapers simply because they like them or think skyscrapers are better for society as a whole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Skyscrapers on Manhattan island are there because of need. i.e. the need to house and to provide workspace for millions on a very small amount of space due to geography. Vanity skyscrapers are built for different reasons and hence are held to different standards because of the environment and what they do to the urban setting they are placed in.

As opposed to 300 sprawl mansions in the burbs? Also there are no walls in New York City that keeps people from moving to the surrounding areas.

I can understand the valid questioning of whether or not it will get built. Both metro and jeepers offer up very valid and reasonable questions. But I can't get past the opinions that somehow because it is Nashville (or any Tier 2 city) and because it is primarily residential and even that it will be built so tall that it really even matters. Who cares if it is vanity based? There is some vanity associated with every skyscraper in the nation otherwise they would all be boxes. Would anyone be as concerned if it were a bank tower? And if not, why not? If your premise is the availability of land then that premise should include all buildings, not just residential. A 60 story insurance tower might seem ridiculous to some because it could easily be split into several ten story buildings spread out into the burbs.

So I guess I pose the next obvious question. Who is to say what is too tall for a given city? And iIf you assign some tallness value and a set of skyscraper ettiquette rules, how do you go about it? Do you base the tallness rule on the next highest building alone? Do you base it on the average height of the top ten? Do you include population into the equation? Do you include the use of the building as in hotel, mixed use, residential, office, observation and then combine all that with whether the public has access?

This is actually questions worth getting opinions on. It might answer the "why" of some opinions whether you like Signature Tower or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


As opposed to 300 sprawl mansions in the burbs? Also there are no walls in New York City that keeps people from moving to the surrounding areas.

I can understand the valid questioning of whether or not it will get built. Both metro and jeepers offer up very valid and reasonable questions. But I can't get past the opinions that somehow because it is Nashville (or any Tier 2 city) and because it is primarily residential and even that it will be built so tall that it really even matters. Who cares if it is vanity based? There is some vanity associated with every skyscraper in the nation otherwise they would all be boxes. Would anyone be as concerned if it were a bank tower? And if not, why not? If your premise is the availability of land then that premise should include all buildings, not just residential. A 60 story insurance tower might seem ridiculous to some because it could easily be split into several ten story buildings spread out into the burbs.

So I guess I pose the next obvious question. Who is to say what is too tall for a given city? And iIf you assign some tallness value and a set of skyscraper ettiquette rules, how do you go about it? Do you base the tallness rule on the next highest building alone? Do you base it on the average height of the top ten? Do you include population into the equation? Do you include the use of the building as in hotel, mixed use, residential, office, observation and then combine all that with whether the public has access?

This is actually questions worth getting opinions on. It might answer the "why" of some opinions whether you like Signature Tower or not.

Interesting point Plasticman. I must ask this question. Does anyone on this site that lives in Atlanta or Charlotte work in any of the Bank of America towers? If not, what does it really matter if those towers were residential? The buildings will not impact your life any different than if they were residential towers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting point Plasticman. I must ask this question. Does anyone on this site that lives in Atlanta or Charlotte work in any of the Bank of America towers? If not, what does it really matter if those towers were residential? The buildings will not impact your life any different than if they were residential towers.

I don't work in Atlanta and in fact live just west of Athens. I drive through DT Atlanta often and often wish I could go to the top of BOA for a good view. The more I think about Metro's and the other responses the more questions their points beg. Is it really unreasonable to have a stand alone building 400 feet above the next tallest? Maybe...maybe not. BOA Charlotte was nearly 300 feet taller than the next tallest at that time. I remember it standing out and yet looked great. As a small, small 4 year old, I remember L&C Nashville being the ONLY tall building in the city. It stood out worse than any building I can remember in any city. And yet it was a true landmark.

What if a developer built a 1,800 foot tower down here in Atlanta or Dallas or Houston? I think it would be an eyebrow raising event but I don't think anyone would fall out of their chair. And no one would be negative about how it stood out. Even though it would be nearly 800 feet taller than its next tallest neighbor.

Personally I believe if Signature is built it will be a landmark for Nashville and will only be waiting for comparable company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who is to say what is too tall for a given city?

Only the market IMO with a few caveats. A city should have some basic criteria that requires a tall tower to engage pedestrians and activate the street with an appropriate amount of retail. Parking should also have to be reasonably concealed so as not to blight the neighborhood around the tower. I tend to agree with Newtowner that ST does these things reasonably well. So, appropriately, now it's really up to the market to say how big and how expensive these proposed units should be.

I too tend to prefer the neighborhood experience of cities that have more moderate urban density (Portland) than those that concentrate all their firepower in only a handful of buildings (Atlanta). But I also enjoy the skylines created by the concentration of a limited number of taller structures in a particular area. It seems to me that we ought to be striving to strike a good balance so both types of development can co-exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting point Plasticman. I must ask this question. Does anyone on this site that lives in Atlanta or Charlotte work in any of the Bank of America towers? If not, what does it really matter if those towers were residential? The buildings will not impact your life any different than if they were residential towers.

Banks are the one industry that does build vanity skyscrapers to make a statement about their business. Most other corporations that did this in the 60s and long since given up the practice because it represents a negative on their bottom lines and they would rather focus on their business rather than holding expensive real estate. And I will add to that that Banks often build buildings that suffer from exactly the dead people place syndrome that I mentioned above.

Since Charlotte was mentioned, I will say that until recently the downtown where all of the bank towers were located was completely dead outside of business hours. Charlotte's most well known skyscraper, the Bank of America Corporate HQ, is beautiful from the distance, and absolutely dead at the base. They leveled a couple of square blocks of retail and replaced it with a tower which only has a lobby of elevators at the base with elevators. If you don't work there, then don't bother. It went from mixed use, to single use. This did not change until they started building great deals of low rise residential buildings in the downtown area that also had places where reasonable business could open without paying skyhigh rents. Charlotte still has a problem in this area as it won't stick to it's fairly progressive development plans centered around rail corridors, but it is better than it was in years past.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But wouldn't the major difference between a bank building and a residential/hotel building fix the dead space problem? Would that not encourage more retail/restaraunt development. Now consider that you will have 1200 to 1500 people living in a 2 or 3 block area with a grocery already in place would that not invite the very thing that the bank building eliminated?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Banks are the one industry that does build vanity skyscrapers to make a statement about their business. Most other corporations that did this in the 60s and long since given up the practice because it represents a negative on their bottom lines and they would rather focus on their business rather than holding expensive real estate. And I will add to that that Banks often build buildings that suffer from exactly the dead people place syndrome that I mentioned above.

Since Charlotte was mentioned, I will say that until recently the downtown where all of the bank towers were located was completely dead outside of business hours. Charlotte's most well known skyscraper, the Bank of America Corporate HQ, is beautiful from the distance, and absolutely dead at the base. They leveled a couple of square blocks of retail and replaced it with a tower which only has a lobby of elevators at the base with elevators. If you don't work there, then don't bother. It went from mixed use, to single use. This did not change until they started building great deals of low rise residential buildings in the downtown area that also had places where reasonable business could open without paying skyhigh rents. Charlotte still has a problem in this area as it won't stick to it's fairly progressive development plans centered around rail corridors, but it is better than it was in years past.

Valid points to be sure. I would think that all developers who have such plans as Signature or Wachovia in Charlotte or Museum Plaza in Louisville should get with the planning commisions and work as hard on developing pedestrian friendly infrastructure as they do on creating masterpieces of highrise architecture. It could be that Tony G is already in discussions with various businesses to draw interest into the downtown Nashville area in the form of restaurants, entertainment, and such.

My exposure to Charlotte has always been very positive (except all the new and endless I-85 road construction). I will have to take a stroll through DT one day just to compare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! So much juicy action goes down in the Signature Tower thread, it is hard to stay relevant and engaged. The subjects change almost as quickly as the gauntlets get thrown down! Please indulge me a wee mite as I try to scoop up and present a few scattered and fading thoughts...

I posted a li'l thing a few days ago in which I announced my opinion that skyscrapers were cheezy, and in fact, "butt-redneck." Barakat responds:

Is the Empire State building "cheesy" or "butt-redneck," and if so, how? It's taller than the proposed Signature and I'd use neither term to describe either building, regarless of location or use. Of all the words you could use to generalize a building type, I would think "ostentatious" might be more appropriate for a skyscraper.

I definitely think that skyscrapers are ostentatious...but this does not preclude their being cheezy. Goodness Knows that there is a lot of cheezy and ostentatious butt-redneck business in this world of ours. I will try to clarify and justify my opinion below:

It seems to me that the erection and celebration of really tall buildings, particularly when done simply for the sake of tallness, is nothing more than an episode of technological exhibitionism of the sort commonly performed by intellectual adolescents (i.e., rednecks) who feel they must prove their cultural relevance to a supposedly interested and arguably superior world. You know how ten-year-olds scream for their mother's attention just before performing a sassy stunt on the diving board, or a broomstick pole-vault in the backyard? Just like the Civilized World--a world that is forced by popular media to observe a second-rate culture erect giant toys--Mother isn't all that impressed, and is, in fact, somewhat amused. Unlike the civilized world, Mother has a natural affection for her children that will survive the tedium of doofus mania for all things loud and big and totally obnoxious. Nashville's international reputation will not, as is commonly asserted on this board, get an action-packed shot in the arm by the Signature Tower. If anyone cares at all, and most people won't, their brief curiosity (which will not be directed as to "what," by the way, as much as to "why") will be satisfied by the rabidly tired and predictable gibberish we spill out about being a "progressive city" that "builds for the future" and "reaches for the sky," etc. Anyone who imagines that a kid in Rome or a resident of Stockholm would be impressed by a really tall skyscraper in a city which is otherwise sprawled out and boring--let alone trade their gorgeous squares and intimate boulevards for a giant building they can't even properly see from the sidewalk--is misinformed in general. For you see, Mother is not impressed by Ninja kicks or awesome high scores on the latest Grand Theft Auto regurgitation. No, she is impressed by virtuous behaviour, by a love of learning, by scholastic and artistic accomplishment of real merit, by kindness and honesty and a love of Beauty. Architecture can be big, and it can be great, and it can be both--but one is not the other. We kid ourselves, my friends.

The construction of cheezy, ostentatious skyscrapers also strikes me as butt-redneck because it reveals an assumption that has been commonly held by provincial yokels throughout the course of human history. It goes a little something like this: great peoples use high technology, therefore high technology makes a people great, therefore our display of high technology will convince great people that we are also a great people. Nonsense. We are much more likely to embarass ourselves, bragging about a huge toy worthy of gaping stares while other people produce painstaking art worthy of affection and respect, but the catch of ignorance is that we won't even know it. When Mr. Silvetti shows more interest in the Schermerhorn than he does in the Viridian, many Nashvillians might shrug and think him quaint and Olde Worldy. No, my brethren and sistren, the man is just a grown-up.

To answer your question: Yes. The Empire State Building was part of a big public-relations stunt, a massive fad, a giant barking contest in which headlines were the objective, not real virtue or achievement of any but the most mundane sort. The aesthetic success of the building has nothing to do with its massive size, and everything to do with its materials, internal proportions, and its picturesque power as a popular icon. There are better buildings in New York and elsewhere. The thing was built to a scale only King Kong could really relate to, and it is nice that he got a chance to prove it.

The whole affair seems to me a bunch of childish, sqawking exhibitionism enacted without concern for beauty or decorum, in an attempt to solicit the attention of either a rich man or a better man...

Look, ma! No hands! Structural novelty for its own sake!

...Also there are no walls in New York City that keeps people from moving to the surrounding areas [and force buildings to go tall].

Yes there are--and they are called the "Hudson River," the "East River," the "Harlem River," and a really huge wall called the "Atlantic Ocean." Some people consider the New Jersey state line to be an impenetrable wall. I would include Wall Street, but the wall was actually torn down some time ago, and the hotdogs are better at Columbus Circle.

So I guess I pose the next obvious question. Who is to say what is too tall for a given city? And iIf you assign some tallness value and a set of skyscraper ettiquette rules, how do you go about it? Do you base the tallness rule on the next highest building alone? Do you base it on the average height of the top ten? Do you include population into the equation? Do you include the use of the building as in hotel, mixed use, residential, office, observation and then combine all that with whether the public has access?

How does one judge the appropriateness of building height, you ask? Simple! Remember that architecture is separate from sculpture because it the "Stage of Human Events," not an assortment of objects fashioned for their own sake. The stage must serve the actors. By considering a building's usefulness and decorous delight to the human body and the human eye, we find a practical set of criteria for architectural success. For example, can a human being relate to the building, inside and out? Can a human see it properly, and enjoy its contributions to the public realm? Can a person escape it reasonably quickly in a fire or some other kind of disaster (these happen)? Can one open the windows on a bankin' Spring day? Can people enjoy the feeling they get from looking at it from, say, less than three miles away? All of this is called...dum-ta-tum...the Human Scale. It rules. It has a great track record. We should try it sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, what's wrong with rednecks? I'm proud of my redneck lineage... fourth generation. FWIW: I enjoy looking at a well designed and very tall high rise. Of course, we have several, how shall I say this... unattractive architectural follies here. But I just don't look at them if I don't have to.

Anyhooo, I saw this out on the Business Journals site. I guess it's not news to you guys by now. Just a question, the article mentions that the middle section has 269 flats for sale in the 400K-650K range on floors 13 thru 39. Comparing for a moment to Viridian (I don't recall their prices), how tall of a task does it look like Giarratana has to sell those 269 units? I'm sure it's not a apples-to-apples comparison as Signature is to be more "upscale".

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/stori...ml?surround=lfn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NewTowner, while I buy some of your points, and can at least agree that for a pedestrian, a skyscraper does little to enhance their experience, I would argue that there are some additional social benefits to them.

Civic pride is one such benefit. I would assume that the residents of Nashville are similar to those in Charlotte, where one of the "things to do" is to show off the skyline to guests from small towns to "wow" them, or to guests of bigger cities, to show them that their city isn't so little after all.

Creating pop icons, as you touched upon, carries relevance throughout all disciplines of social interaction. Going back to the ESB, it serves a visual reference for NYC. Show a picture of it to anyone in the country, and they make a connection to the city. King Kong's existence is reliant on the construction of a skyscraper. Who would watch a movie of an oversized ape climb to the top floor of a 4-story rowhouse. And apparantly, the aliens in the film Independence Day, considered it iconic enough to destroy it over any other landmark in a city that isn't short on landmarks.

There is also the economic benefit to skyscrapers. By commanding premiums for every transaction involving a skyscraper, from penthouse condos, to overpriced food at the attached restaurant, the economy benefits from the popular belief that bigger=better. How far this economic boost trickes down is a question for Reagenomics, but skyscrapers do pump a premium-amount of money through the local economy.

And finally, the visual landmark for the geographically impaired.

Will signature tower succeed on all these levels if built? It think it will at least at the local scale.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! So much juicy action goes down in the Signature Tower thread, it is hard to stay relevant and engaged. The subjects change almost as quickly as the gauntlets get thrown down! Please indulge me a wee mite as I try to scoop up and present a few scattered and fading thoughts...

I posted a li'l thing a few days ago in which I announced my opinion that skyscrapers were cheezy, and in fact, "butt-redneck." Barakat responds:

I definitely think that skyscrapers are ostentatious...but this does not preclude their being cheezy. Goodness Knows that there is a lot of cheezy and ostentatious butt-redneck business in this world of ours. I will try to clarify and justify my opinion below:

It seems to me that the erection and celebration of really tall buildings, particularly when done simply for the sake of tallness, is nothing more than an episode of technological exhibitionism of the sort commonly performed by intellectual adolescents (i.e., rednecks) who feel they must prove their cultural relevance to a supposedly interested and arguably superior world. You know how ten-year-olds scream for their mother's attention just before performing a sassy stunt on the diving board, or a broomstick pole-vault in the backyard? Just like the Civilized World--a world that is forced by popular media to observe a second-rate culture erect giant toys--Mother isn't all that impressed, and is, in fact, somewhat amused. Unlike the civilized world, Mother has a natural affection for her children that will survive the tedium of doofus mania for all things loud and big and totally obnoxious. Nashville's international reputation will not, as is commonly asserted on this board, get an action-packed shot in the arm by the Signature Tower. If anyone cares at all, and most people won't, their brief curiosity (which will not be directed as to "what," by the way, as much as to "why") will be satisfied by the rabidly tired and predictable gibberish we spill out about being a "progressive city" that "builds for the future" and "reaches for the sky," etc. Anyone who imagines that a kid in Rome or a resident of Stockholm would be impressed by a really tall skyscraper in a city which is otherwise sprawled out and boring--let alone trade their gorgeous squares and intimate boulevards for a giant building they can't even properly see from the sidewalk--is misinformed in general. For you see, Mother is not impressed by Ninja kicks or awesome high scores on the latest Grand Theft Auto regurgitation. No, she is impressed by virtuous behaviour, by a love of learning, by scholastic and artistic accomplishment of real merit, by kindness and honesty and a love of Beauty. Architecture can be big, and it can be great, and it can be both--but one is not the other. We kid ourselves, my friends.

The construction of cheezy, ostentatious skyscrapers also strikes me as butt-redneck because it reveals an assumption that has been commonly held by provincial yokels throughout the course of human history. It goes a little something like this: great peoples use high technology, therefore high technology makes a people great, therefore our display of high technology will convince great people that we are also a great people. Nonsense. We are much more likely to embarass ourselves, bragging about a huge toy worthy of gaping stares while other people produce painstaking art worthy of affection and respect, but the catch of ignorance is that we won't even know it. When Mr. Silvetti shows more interest in the Schermerhorn than he does in the Viridian, many Nashvillians might shrug and think him quaint and Olde Worldy. No, my brethren and sistren, the man is just a grown-up.

To answer your question: Yes. The Empire State Building was part of a big public-relations stunt, a massive fad, a giant barking contest in which headlines were the objective, not real virtue or achievement of any but the most mundane sort. The aesthetic success of the building has nothing to do with its massive size, and everything to do with its materials, internal proportions, and its picturesque power as a popular icon. There are better buildings in New York and elsewhere. The thing was built to a scale only King Kong could really relate to, and it is nice that he got a chance to prove it.

The whole affair seems to me a bunch of childish, sqawking exhibitionism enacted without concern for beauty or decorum, in an attempt to solicit the attention of either a rich man or a better man...

Look, ma! No hands! Structural novelty for its own sake!

Yes there are--and they are called the "Hudson River," the "East River," the "Harlem River," and a really huge wall called the "Atlantic Ocean." Some people consider the New Jersey state line to be an impenetrable wall. I would include Wall Street, but the wall was actually torn down some time ago, and the hotdogs are better at Columbus Circle.

How does one judge the appropriateness of building height, you ask? Simple! Remember that architecture is separate from sculpture because it the "Stage of Human Events," not an assortment of objects fashioned for their own sake. The stage must serve the actors. By considering a building's usefulness and decorous delight to the human body and the human eye, we find a practical set of criteria for architectural success. For example, can a human being relate to the building, inside and out? Can a human see it properly, and enjoy its contributions to the public realm? Can a person escape it reasonably quickly in a fire or some other kind of disaster (these happen)? Can one open the windows on a bankin' Spring day? Can people enjoy the feeling they get from looking at it from, say, less than three miles away? All of this is called...dum-ta-tum...the Human Scale. It rules. It has a great track record. We should try it sometime.

You could have said every bit of that in three sentences? I do think you made some decent points but overall you could take the same reasoning points and apply them to many of mankinds achievements such as going to the moon. After all, going to the moon was out of both curiosity and pride to some degree. While it may seem a waste of money, many technological and medical breakthroughs were brought about by the space race. Yes lives have been saved due to our relentless attempt at greater achievements. The same can go for highrise buildings. I am sure many architectural achievements continue to produce technology related to construction as in newer and stronger materials, etc. This same technology may be used for safer bridges, stronger buildings, etc.

But I for one don't believe having a pride filled skyscraper is any more a sin than having the biggest home on the block or the nicest car. Even if it is pure vanity, that doesn't mean an engaging street level has to be mutually exclusive from a very proud and robust highrise.

Anyway your opinion and I'm sure others share it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.