When trad design is bad (or, at least, less than ideal) design

During the past 10 years or so — and as Nashville has seen numerous urban infill projects — various out-of-town architects have placed their stamp on the city.

Some of those companies have given us stellar buildings. Pickard Chilton & Associate’s The Pinnacle at Symphony Place is an example. Others have delivered eyesores.

One of the next design firms to enter the Nashville market will be Davis Architects, which is crafting the exterior and interior shapes and materials for the planned West End Village. Atlanta-based The Rutledge Group is the WEV developer and, not surprisingly, Davis has an office in Atlanta (and Birmingham, too).

A quick scan of the Davis Architects website reveals the company specializes in traditional design work. West End Village will be given an understated look, with no cutting-edge forms, colors or materials.

Perhaps this is suitable for West End Park, the once historic residential district that has experienced a recent influx of neo-traditional buildings, still retains some semblance of its pre-World War II architectural glory and in which the two-building West End Village will be constructed. However, it is nonetheless a bit disappointing in that West End Village, given its size (one building will rise five stories, an imposing height compared to the district’s other structures) and prime location could have been a “statement building” — the type of structure the almost excessively reserved neighborhood needs.

A missed opportunity? Perhaps.

Interestingly, Davis Architecture also has handled some renovation design work for Birmingham-based Rickwood Field, the nation’s oldest baseball stadium.