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doormanpoet

Architecture as Sculpture

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I for one see my built environment study and hobby as just that: A hobby. I do not want this thread to become an architecture lecture just like if I mention bowling, you don't want a diatribe on bowling lanes, equipment, bowling balls, lane conditions etc...

I am not concerned as much with a label such as Classical, Neo Classical, Greek, Greek Revival, Modernist, Post Modern, Industrial, Brutalist, Contemporary, Asian, Southwestern, Mediteranian, etc...

I look at architecture as art. It reflects who we are as human beings, and each piece of architecture tells a story. It gives us a glimpse into who we are as human beings. Whether it is a 1000 foot skyscraper or a single story outhouse, it tells a story. Each piece reflects a small part of the whole. Even if it is bad architecture, it tells a relevant story that needs to be understood. Money and culture play a large role in urban design, or lack thereof.

When people visit my hotel, one of the first things they notice and comment on is the skyline. They are impressed how tall the buildings are and to them, that is an indication of the progress of the city. They also notice the midrises and how they address the street.

One thing to remember, we are spoiled here in Nashville. We have a 617 foot building, but the majority of Americans live in towns under 100,000 and most in towns under 50,000 people where a 5 story 50 foot building is big. I have heard that the most actually live in towns of 10,000 or less. Whatever the number, most Americans live in a city without a skyline.

Whether Terrazzo, Icon, Viridian, The un-named yet to be revealed sliver building, Adelicia, Signature, West End, etc.. meet with peoples design likes or dislikes, that really does not matter. For most cities in America having 1 billion dollars in real estate investment is nothing short of amazing.

Nashville architecture is art. It is in the eye of the beholder whether it is good or not, and by the amount of sales of the particular units, I would say it is well liked.

Art is something that stays with us for eternity. The L&C Tower is an example of Edwin Keebles genius. Erected from 1955 to 1957 it still remains a favorite today. The fins take your eye right up to the sky in an almost spiritual experience.

Nashville has been evil to its art. The city has destroyed masterworks that some said were too unsightly or too old. What a tragic shame. When the opinion of a few ends up making decisions for the many, trouble starts. Just look at old photos of the American National Bank Building. It was torn down for a parking garage. That really turns my stomach. I know Tony feels guilty about the Sudakem Building.

Until Nashville starts a love affair with its architectural art, we will have tradegy. We will have McDonalds buildings staining our landscape. When Nashvillians settle for mediocrity, we get McDonalds, Wendy's, and Circle K Markets.

Some on the forum have criticized Terrazzo and other buildings. Yes, they are not the Guggenheim, nor the State Capital. They may not be St. Peters Bascillica in Rome, but they are art. Energy has been wasted on debating Terrazzo and others, while the real tragedy is Walmart, McDonalds, BP and every chain gas station, and so many buildings that destroy the urban and suburban landscape.

This summer, watch the Tour De France and see if the French allow such buildings to exist. The real tragedy in this country and Nashville is the throw away buildings mentioned above. People of Europe live and work in buildings centuries old. Nashville destroys them.

The Trail West Building on Broadway is clad in siding hiding beautiful brick. Very close to the Union Station is a horrid looking Firestone and McDonalds. Please do not confuse art with this. This is a lesson in human tradegy.

I for one look to our skyscrapers a great sculpture with its many shapes, sizes, and design elements. Visitors to our city look at our skyline with envy, and we are debating Terrazzo?

I am very proud that the Gulch will have it's own skyline like West End and Belle Meade. It is art that shapes us, and it is art that unites us.

Art and architecture should not and must not divide us. As we enter a new phase and new chapter in Nashville Urban Design and Development, lets not settle for cheap and practical, but bold and exciting. However, Terrazzo and the like are fine and even bold considering our limestone history. But, the concern and outrage should not be at how these new condo towers are designed, but how the Jacksonians and the Corinthian Lodges are destroyed for no reason. (Alex Palmer should be ashamed)

Peace,

John

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I second that!

Poet, you just put everything in my brain on paper(digital paper).

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True, McDonalds, the Tigermarket, and Firestone aren't the most beautiful sights on Broadway, but they are the three businesses on Broadway that I use the most!

I wish I could somehow have the best of both worlds.

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Friends,

As many of you know, the Poet and I are good friends. So I am biased in my view that his post starting this thread is dead-on accurate.

All of us, myself included, sometimes lose sight of the true essence of what this forum is all about and our true passion: following the planning, architectural and, as such, social, changes in Nashville. Perhaps we should reflect on all the amazing change in this city, and do so knowing that we must keep things in perspective.

As New Towner so appropriately notes, we do need to demand beautiful and timeless buildings from our architects and developers. As Nashville Bound accurately contends, we have to be fair and realize that there are budgetary considerations that affect design efforts. As IJDave says, this is all the beginning of a huge puzzle and there will be some missing pieces along the way. Lexy wields his camera with a vengeance. Smeagolsfree compiles the research and keeps his eye focused. Bzorch and cdub remind us of the importance of a pedestrian-oriented built fabric. DCliff offers practical info about our downtown and about other cities. Hankster, living in Chattanooga, spurs us to appreciate our home town even more than we do. We are at various times so on target, yet at other times so missing the overall point. This is about the reinvention of our city, a place that was, in many respects, brutalized with horrific planning, architecture, road design, public works projects, etc. for more than 50 years. It will take at least another 50 to undo the mess. We must be patient and realistic. And we must all continue the passion.

Thanks to the Doorman for spurring me to write this and thanks to everybody on the forum.

WW

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Great post's. I agree with all said.

I for one however do not want to explain my reasons for liking or disliking a building. I just simply go with what my eyes and brain says looks good.

I see nothing wrong with the majority of buildings in the Nashville area. Unfortunately there will never be a perfect city anywhere. Doorman, you are so correct that Nashville has let a lot of our treasures go the way of the bulldozer. I think most things are on the right track here with the exception of all the Wal-marts, Walgreen's, and other big-box stores going in. I cant leave out what is going on in the West End Park area. Many beautiful old homes have been destroyed. But this is a democracy and the people have a right to decide what is best for the neighborhood they live in. Sylvan Park is a good example of this as they voted down the overlay district.

I have seen some Walgreen's done correctly in places like Scottsdale AZ. It takes some strict zoning on the part of cities to get things where they want them. I think a lot of other cities could follow the example of Brentwood and have strict guidelines in place.

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Don't forget all the damn utility poles in Nashville... blechhhh!! Is there anyone in City Hall who can even imagine putting most of the cables underground?

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Don't forget all the damn utility poles in Nashville... blechhhh!! Is there anyone in City Hall who can even imagine putting most of the cables underground?

Oh, I'm sure some have. They probably don't want to go with it knowing how much the utility rates would rise in order to accomplish that aesthetic improvement.

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I second that!

Poet, you just put everything in my brain on paper(digital paper).

I'll third that as well. I have a hard time typing out my true feelings on art and architecture. Well said Poet!

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I'll have to second the feelings about the power lines!!! There should be no excuse for keeping all those HORRIFIC powerlines out in the open like that... at least in downtown they should go with the expense and put them underground. They really do look depressing! Other than that, great post Poet!

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Most of downtown doesn't have exposed lines. SoBro does, but as development happens you'll see the lines begin to disappear. Most new developments in Davidson require underground ultilities now anyway. I don't like lines, but neither would I like a $400 electric every month to make it happen in retro. They don't bother me that much, it's part of living in a city with a solid limestone foundation. As long as improvements are made with diligence, and I'm confident they will be, some of the facts of living in a very old city will not change. When coastal areas and penisulas erode into the ocean in the future, we'll still have our stone foundation...with poles sticking in them. I'll take that.

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I for one however do not want to explain my reasons for liking or disliking a building. I just simply go with what my eyes and brain says looks good.

While we're all "seconding", I will definitely second that. :)

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Oh, I'm sure some have. They probably don't want to go with it knowing how much the utility rates would rise in order to accomplish that aesthetic improvement.

It's also a safety improvement. Not to mention the access it adds to sidewalks. Then there's better protection of power lines during storms.

There are many sidewalks here in Atlanta that were declared noncompliant with the ADA. They had to rip up the new sidewalks and bury the utilities.

All it takes is better planning and it can be done at the same time as all of Purcell's sidewalks being put out in the cornfields. As a capitalized investment, it's not too much more than the annual maintenance of trees around the power lines. Have you ever had your trees topped by the Georgia Power/Southern Co. (or whoever supplies to Nashville)? Dekalb County, GA pays over $20 million per year for shrub/tree trimming.

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Wow! I think I agree with virtually everthing stated on this thread. I, for one would be more than happy to pay a little more to see all the utility poles underground. I live in a neighborhood with undergroung utilities and it's wonderful. The visual appeal is so much greater, and I believe the resale value is higher accordingly. As for the McDonald's, the Walgreens, Walmarts, etc. (basically about the entire landscape of suburbia today) of the world..... :w00t: Ugggggghhhh!!!!! I have the equivalent disdain for them as NewTowner seems to have for the Terrazzo!

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Can someone please refrsh my memory, but what unamed soon to be revealed sliver (or did he meen silver) building is doormanpoet referring to? I'm not sure what building he is referring too.

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I think the refernce is to the announced Crosland Building opposite the Terazzo. The plot is a sliver.

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This is a little off-topic, but do the majority of Americans really live in towns < 100K? Or was that just an exaggeration to illustrate how important it is to appreciate what you have and to preserve your history and grit, even if it's negative? It's important to do so, I'm just surprised at the statistic.

I think most cities in general fall into the mistake of destroying their past, often in the attempt to shroud past skeletons and insecurities behind a curtain of glitz and apparent visual progress. And this strategy has been validated and promoted in many respects, from media, public relations, and even tourism, although the last one could be debated. It's a rare city that has the balls and courage to leave its demons out there for history to learn from, and it's a true contribution to society when it occurs.

And many cities have seized upon that and really reaped substantial returns from that aspect, New Orleans being on the top of that list, but many others as well. Some cities have attempted a blend of differing degrees (i.e. SA and Philly).

The problem with the puzzle analogy when applied to creating an ideal environment, imo, is when you destroy a historic treasure, you can't recreate the impact of that later on. The best cities blend the two, but recognize that you build new *around* the old, not bulldoze the old, build new, and then fill in with faux-old (usually cheap-looking imitation) buildings. Some people, though, aren't into the old grit, and well different strokes for different strokes. If you like a mix, and you have an old city, you can always create the ideal mix. The converse isn't necessarily true. Which is a shame for many deceased structures, and those cities. But many of the buildings that replace them, concededly, are nice. Me, I love a mix. I like Philly's skyline, and I like the historic nature of cities like Memphis, and the progressive and density of, say, the newer buildings in Charlotte and Nashville. I see more potential though in the older ones becoming an ideal mix because they don't have to recreate the historic segments. They just have to preserve them, and then come up with the new ones. Not easy, for sure.

From the perspective of all buildings are art -- I agree. Some like different ones. Can't please everyone.

I was a little all over the place, sorry. Hope no more unnecessary historical demolitions occur in your hoods. And that Memphis and Nashville continue their upward trajectories.

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Clobber, we appreciate your opinion, and i think it was a very good one.

IMO the easiest way to save our history is to not destroy it. This might sound like a silly statement, but i think developers have a hard time with it. We dont have to destroy old buildings to build new ones. Nashville has enough surface lots for 100 years of development! When we fill those up lets move to the "expendable" buildings (like gas stations!) that corporate America thinks we cannot do without. We all know them as eyesore's. However, "expendable" can be a matter of opinion. I suppose many people think a new Wal-mart is a better addition to their community than a new library.

I suppose it is up to people like us to convince others how great our city COULD be.

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As a capitalized investment, it's not too much more than the annual maintenance of trees around the power lines. Have you ever had your trees topped by the Georgia Power/Southern Co. (or whoever supplies to Nashville)? Dekalb County, GA pays over $20 million per year for shrub/tree trimming.

Oh, brother... Don't get me started on NES's "tree holocaust" all over town. They hit our yard and street like a tornado.

Every time one of their crews come around, I have to come running out of the house yelling "Don't touch the trees !" in Spanish. :blink:

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Art and architecture should not and must not divide us. As we enter a new phase and new chapter in Nashville Urban Design and Development, lets not settle for cheap and practical, but bold and exciting. However, Terrazzo and the like are fine and even bold considering our limestone history. But, the concern and outrage should not be at how these new condo towers are designed, but how the Jacksonians and the Corinthian Lodges are destroyed for no reason. (Alex Palmer should be ashamed)

Not to rain on the lovers of tall buildings parade, but the proposed Signature Tower looks like a giant Ionic Breeze. The renderings make the building look like a giant futuristic air cleaner...one used to help Nashville maintain EPA air quality attainment levels in 2080.

I know that Tony wants to create a signature building for the South

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dfw

You may be suprised with the latest rendering. one of our most enthustiastic posters NewTowner has viewed the revised designs. He has offered high praise for the modifications.

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dfw

You may be suprised with the latest rendering. one of our most enthustiastic posters NewTowner has viewed the revised designs. He has offered high praise for the modifications.

Can you post the rendering?

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I've debated with myself off and on for the last few days on how or if to respond to the post starting this link. I know doorman has the best intentions, but I don't totally agree with him on this one. That's cool, so here goes.

...I am not concerned as much with a label such as Classical, Neo Classical, Greek, Greek Revival, Modernist, Post Modern, Industrial, Brutalist, Contemporary, Asian, Southwestern, Mediteranian, etc...

I look at architecture as art

Of course, we label art in order to better enjoy it, to better understand it, to better appreciate it. Art can be enjoyed at the gutteral level, but it can only be appreciated at the intellectual level.

Art is something that stays with us for eternity.

Which is why it really does matter whether it is good or not.

Some on the forum have criticized Terrazzo and other buildings. Yes, they are not the Guggenheim, nor the State Capital. They may not be St. Peters Bascillica in Rome, but they are art. Energy has been wasted on debating Terrazzo and others, while the real tragedy is Walmart, McDonalds, BP and every chain gas station, and so many buildings that destroy the urban and suburban landscape.

Of course we debate them. Architects debate the relative merits of each others' designs; critics debate those same merits; enthusiasts always debate the relative merits of their passions. Of course the Terrazzo is better than a Wal-Mart. That does not mean we have to act like we think it is perfect in form or design.

But, the concern and outrage should not be at how these new condo towers are designed, but how the Jacksonians and the Corinthian Lodges are destroyed for no reason.

Agreed on the Jacksonian. I am not outraged by any of the current designs, but I will always be interested and concerned whether or not they are good for my city.

Peace to you as well.

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I've debated with myself off and on for the last few days on how or if to respond to the post starting this link. I know doorman has the best intentions, but I don't totally agree with him on this one. That's cool, so here goes.

Geez. It's about time. Thanks, Downtown Cliff. The two of us don't agree on everything, but at least we agree that real dialogue and debate is needed. The constant frustrations I have inspired here on the Planet are, in the end, found a lot less in what I actually think (most people don't seem to understand my posts, and I happily take some of the blame for this) and a lot more in the fact that I dare to suggest aesthetic criticism has a place in Nashville's Renaissance.

Many of the people here assert, in the end, that when it comes to Nashville's architecture: Beggars Cannot Be Choosers. The implication is that Nashville is a city of beggars, despite the hypocritical assertions of civic pride which usually accompany rants against my unyeilding rejection of crap architecture. What is this?

NewTowner

PS: Disagreeing with me about what makes "crap architecture" is totally rad. But skipping that challenge and asserting that a rejection of crap architecture is inherently arrogant or stupid is both arrogant and stupid. Kisses!

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Can you post the rendering?

Sorry I have not seen the new rendering. NewTowner has a source that gave him advanced information.

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Sorry I have not seen the new rendering. NewTowner has a source that gave him advanced information.

And I am afraid I cannot post them, or I will piss that friend off severely.

But check my post above for thoughts on the issues raised by the Doorman and then answered brilliantly by Downtown Cliff. I wouldn't want to go off-topic and risk being bumped down to "Whistle-Stop" again.

Shucks!

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