Schermerhorn--Nashville's OTHER Temple
I happened to be in Nashville last Fall when the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center had it's grand opening.
It's located just two blocks off the Broadway entertainment district,right across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and an additional block's distance from the fabled Ryman Auditorium.It is a worthy addition to a place that calls itself "Music City".
As you stroll down Broadway,you are afforded glimpses of the building,and being a curious urban explorer I had to know more about it,so I detoured from the club scene long enough to check it out.
Nashv.,of course,is famous in architectural circles for another classic structure,a faithful reproduction of the Greek Parthenon,so adding yet another neoclassic interpretation of an ancient European temple/concert hall was no great leap for the city.Frankly,the building is so well done that I thought,for a brief moment,that it was a refurbishment and cleanup of an old structure,something that had been in DT Nashville for generations.I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was brand spanking new.
I walked around the building,impressed with the fine details and the faithful adherance to what has become almost a lost art,architectural-wise.Nobody builds in the neoclassic Greco-Roman style anymore(outside of some structures on college campuses),and a building of this scale,in this design,has not been put in place anywhere recently in an American Downtown,as far as I know.It's grand entrance closely resembles the formality of the Main Public Library or the 5th Ave entrance to the Metropolitan Museum.It's very imposing,yet friendly,and a real tribute to the culture mavens of Nashville.
As an aside,I was also taken aback with the vibrancy of DT Nashville.I never expected to see what I saw.
On the same night that the Schermerhorn hosted it's black-tie Grand Opening,Green Day had a concert at the Ryman Entertainment Center--two blocks away on Broadway--George Jones' 70th birthday party was going on at the old Ryman/Grand ol' Opry building a block up the hill and Toby Keith's "Bridges" movie was debuting at a DT movie house with all the pomp and ceremony of a Hollywood premiere.Downtown was jumping,with crowds and traffic that could rival Times Square.I was very impressed.Among smaller cities,only Austin has given me this particular vibe.
Vanderbilt had just opened their football season that day (they lost),the Titans were having their pre-opening game party (across the river but walkable from DT--they lost,too)and Broadway and Second street (loaded with dozens of live music venues)were as lively as The French Quarter on a busy pre-Katrina Saturday.The State Fair was also in session a few miles away,and on Music Row,a dozen Grammy parties were happening.A million things were going on in Nashville.
But it was Downtown wher the party was.Within a very few square blocks were Classical Symphony,Rock,Country and dozens of house bands with everything from sole six-stringers plunking out old folk songs to longhair punk rockers imitating Linkin Park.Music overload.I loved it.
This town is a hair away from being a GREAT party city,and could easily steal New Orleans' reputation as a definitive destination for music,party and architecture lovers.And the beer is only 3 bucks a bottle.