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MTSUBlueraider86

Why do we love architecture?

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When I tell people I am a built environment enthusiast they look at me as if I am crazy. They wonder why I like buildings, or that is how they put it anyway. Its not a like of a building but the love of design and orientation. Its how the built fabric reflects our culture. The same could be said for music, art, film, and literature. It reflects who we are and what our journey is. Architecture does this more than sports and entertainment ever could. We have had politicians change the face of America like John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama but not many more. We have had sports hero's like Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods change America, but not many more.

The architect and the city planner have done more to change culture and American society than most disciplines combined. Our society is reflected in our architecture. That is why I become so upset at bad and poorly designed architecture. I think that is why we are here. Scholars are now debating how old the Pyramids of Egypt are. Some scientists claim the structures may be anywhere from 6000 to 12,000 years old. Architecture standing tall after thousands of years.

We really don't know who the sports hero's were back then. We know very little of their politicians and celebrities. We know very little about them, but their architecture gives us a clue.

The L&C Tower may not be here 6000 years from now, but it is a time line in the journey of our city. It is a statement of our culture. Its a glimpse into our psyche and our human experience. Societies always outgrow their celebrities, sports hero's and the like, but architecture is for the most part forever.

Why do you read this site? Why do you like architecture?

BR86

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Another statement of architecture is one of wonderment and awe. I remember 1969 quite well when my father knew I was old enought to understand the magic of downtown. He piled us into the car and drove us downtown to show us the growing skyline. I remember staring up the fins of the L&C Tower thinking it was the tallest building in the world! Its hard to imagine today that the building at one time was the tallest building in the southeast.

In the northwest distance I remember the two tower cranes that adorned the sky during the construction of the then National Life and Casualty Tower being built on 7th and Union Street. It would open in 1970 and the post modern monolith surpassed the L&C Tower by 41 feet. The height wars had begun and I knew Nashville one day would be a big city. A year later we would venture up to New York City to pick up my grandmother who decided she wanted to try living in the quiet south. Manhattan absolutely blew me away in 1970 and when I went back in 1980 I was more appreciative of what that skyline meant. ( I was underage in a bar called Hammerheads. I got drunk and over-tipped the waitresses and then I made my way up front to mosh and slam dance in front of the stage . In my enthusiasm I knocked the keyboard players microphone over. It was a hit with the punks ! There was too much laughter from the Dix Hill punk rocker crowd. I was in heaven jamming to the underground punk scene in Manhattan.) My grandmother stayed a couple of months and then she left because Nashville was too quiet and I wanted buildings bigger than the L&C Tower.

So goes my obsession with the built environment. Nothing but cold steel and the girth of walls of concrete can warm my heart more. It can only be surpassed by driving in a convertible through the downtown streets with Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine blaring from the speakers to drown out the country music coming from Lower Broadway.

Cities are rock and roll. Cities are punk and post punk bands screaming anarchy. Cities are the deep breathing sounds of jazz creeping around the corner. Cities are the sounds of R&B dancing in the streets. Cities are the beat poets vocalizing a rhyme and a story like Ginsberg!

I love the built environment!

Lets Rock!

BR86

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Why do I love Architecture? Growing up, I was always drawing houses, buildings and skyscrapers. I had lego blocks, which were nothing compared to what the kids have now. I'm talking the 60's. I also had another set of building toys, which I do not remember the name of. They had plastic girders, i-beams, boards with holes and surface walls, that all snapped together. It was made to build high rises. If someone remembers these, please let me know the real name.

I was a loner. So, I spent plenty of time building and drawing. Had no interest in usuasl activities. There was a creek near my house, which I would spend time building dams and changing the natural flow of the water. Creating my own little world. When I got bored with whatever I was doing, I would cause a major catastrophe to destroy them.

I wanted to be an architect, until I found out how much school it required. And that you had to be really talented for anyone to know who you where. I was not that talented. I built the same things over and over. And the drawings were the same. I didn't have the drive to do it. So mechanical engineering was the path I took.

I never lost the love I had of Architecture. I enjoy seeing stuff being built as well as going on vacations to see existing building. If you ever go to Chicago, check out there Architectural tour. My guide was a retired architect and really brought the buildings to life.

I was so glad to stumble upon this site. I check in almost every day. I just enjoy the pictures and conversations. And accidently learn some things. And not just Nashville, which I'm glad is coming back to life, but also other cities, like Grand Rapids, Charlotte, Hampton Roads and a few others that are really active. So, thanks for asking.

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I left out, growing up near Pittsburgh & my grandparents with my brother and I in tow, taking the bus into the city on weekends. This is what sparked the interest. It was what at the time seemed like a big and scary place, but marvelous at the same time.

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Great Post nashbill! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully more people will share their stories and passions for the built environment.

BR86

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My story is quite simple and comes without nostalgia for the older buildings being built (albeit I am just 25). I have been asked over the years that, if there was a super power I could have, what would it be. My answer is always immortality with death at my discretion. The reason I answer this is because I love to watch the progress of humanity, and one of the expressions is through buildings. Having been in the tallest structure from 1500-1800 (the Cathedral at Koln, Germany) in 2000, and my desire to get into the Burj Khalifa in Dubai... each is a testament to the progression of the human spirit and, more importantly to me, technology.

I want to see the day that cancer is cured, and and I want to see the day when built architecture reflects that achievement. To see how technology changes the way things are built, the height at which they are built, and the design that is allowed as a result. The reason I focus on technology for my love of architecture is because without it, there is no reflection of the mentioned progression of humans.

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Some strong posts. And very heartfelt.

Here's how it started for me.

In about 1970 (I was 8), my father returned from a trip to Milwaukee, bringing me a postcard of the Milwaukee skyline. The old man knew I liked buildings so it was a nice gesture. I saved that card and now have a collection of postcards of city skylines and that numbers more than 1,000. In middle school, I would go the library to check the encyclopedias for photos of city skylines. By this time in my life, I was drawing skylines and buildings. In 1987, I moved to Chicago and have been in love with cities, architecture, demographics, planning and place-making ever since. Of note, my brother (who is also a "built environment nerd") bought in the mid-1990s James H. Kunstler's masterpiece "The Geography of Nowhere." I read it and that was another defining moment for me. Then in 1998 came the announcement of the razing of the Jacksonian. I was working at the now-defunct In Review at the time, and got to report on this. Another key moment came in 2004, when I met in person our board moderator, BR86. He's had a huge influence on me. I believe the man could build a skyscraper by himself.

So that's the story.

ESU/WW

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I always wanted to build my own skyscraper and live on the top floor. If I were to win the Powerball Lottery, although I have only bought one ticket in my life, I would take the tens of millions if not hundreds of millions and build a tower downtown. (Complete with bowling center.) It would be called Turquoise Tower. We would have our built environment monthly meetings on the top floor, most likely the 60th floor. A Russian immigrant named Natasha would make coffee for us and her friend Alexia would bake the pastries, most likely Baklava, for us while we ruled the built environment world of Nashville high up on our perch over the city.

Yes, I would rule the skyscraper world of Nashville!

BR86

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I always wanted to build my own skyscraper and live on the top floor. If I were to win the Powerball Lottery, although I have only bought one ticket in my life, I would take the tens of millions if not hundreds of millions and build a tower downtown. (Complete with bowling center.) It would be called Turquoise Tower. We would have our built environment monthly meetings on the top floor, most likely the 60th floor. A Russian immigrant named Natasha would make coffee for us and her friend Alexia would bake the pastries, most likely Baklava, for us while we ruled the built environment world of Nashville high up on our perch over the city.

Yes, I would rule the skyscraper world of Nashville!

BR86

Hmmm, not sure what caught my attention more: a skyscraper called Turquoise Tower or the references to Natasha and Alexia.

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I must admit, one reason I watch the Titans games, although not the entire game, is too see what city shots they get on camera. They have had some good skyline views as of late. I am looking forward to the next Sunday or Monday night game where we see the city lights. That is one reason I want the argon lit up on top of the USBank Tower again.

BR86

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I too miss the crown of the US Bank building being lit...actually it's been so long since they used those lights I had forgotten that they were ever there. Digging deeper into the old brain, I seem to remember that when the building was first announced there was to have been some sort of spire or antenna on top. Not sure if there was ever a drawing released with that feature, but I'm pretty sure there was talk of that being a part of the building's original design.

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