AIA Tennessee celebrated the 2018 Design Awards at the historic Franklin Theatre during AIA Tennessee’s state conference in Franklin on July 24, 2018.  To salute excellence in architecture, AIA Tennessee conducts an annual Design Awards program.  This program honors built works of distinction designed by members, and brings to public attention their outstanding architectural accomplishments.

Craig Kronenberg, AIA, principal at Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects, PLLC in Chattanooga, chaired the 2018 program.  Mr. Kronenberg assembled an impressive jury from Chicago to review the entries from across the state.  Jurors were Carol Ross Barney, FAIA (Ross Barney Architects), Jay Longo, AIA (Solomon Cordwell, and Buenz Architects), and Dan Wheeler, FAIA (Wheeler Kerns Architects).

The thirteen projects were unanimously chosen from a field of 98 submittals, all of which received thoughtful consideration.  The jurors noted the diverse range of work and elegant solutions to challenges presented.

Scroll down to view the awarded projects.


Ballet Memphis
archimania (Memphis)

New construction: A nationally acclaimed professional ballet company wished to move from a suburban location to a performing-arts district undergoing revitalization in Memphis.

Photo credit: archimania

The civic-oriented facility is an extension of the Company’s mission. With large windows and public courtyards, the building contributes to the already thriving urban district. Formerly a hotel with parking in the front, the new site design inverts the original scheme. The building is designed to engage the public in movement, culture, and connection to the community. It houses rehearsal space for the professional company, a dance school for over 200 children, and community dance and pilates classes. The largest rehearsal studio also doubles as a performance venue.

The copper screen sits at the historic street edge—enhancing the urban experience within an entertainment district—while complying with current city codes and setbacks. The building’s façade offers opportunities for the community to participate in the organization, via exterior courtyards, retail experiences, and a café, and a costume shop featuring a display window/mini-performance place.

Photo credit: archimania

The courtyard spaces offer opportunities for the community to engage with the school, and also break the scale of the large building down to suit the context. The exterior form, composed of layers of glass, perforated copper, and volumes of contrasting metal evokes the character of a music box. Gauzy screens and courtyards that penetrate the building mass both mask and reveal the activity of dancers within. Warm and neutral materials alongside cool colors are also used to frame and display activity and the dancers.

Dance and architecture share a focus on movement, space and time. Celebrating these disciplines, through this civic project, enhances its growing entertainment district and the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

Enigmatic, presents a changing story as one walks perimeter of building/context and continues into interior.
Creation of veiled curtains, middle zones between public and private spaces brings theatrical, useful spaces out to street.
Profile of performance space to public as curtain a memorable, lasting signature image.
Structure (lateral bracing) and skin expressed, the building becomes a performative body to encounter, participate with.
Concept, civic-ness, execution all impressive.
Home run.

Merit Awards

Memphis Business Academy
Self + Tucker Architects (Memphis)

Photo credit: Chad Mellon Photography & Mario Walker

This new construction project challenged the design team to consider materials, systems, and assemblies from various perspectives. The goal was to deliver a creative and productive environment for students & staff. Their solution involved a selection of quality systems in tandem with cost efficiency, building orientation and design aesthetics. The school refers to their students as “executives”, so the idea was to place student in a more “corporate” like environment to solidify the core objective of business focused education. The single story pre-engineered metal frame building was designed to meet the best practices for sustainable design to minimize the impact on the environment, although the project did not pursue the LEED for Schools certification.

Photo credit: Chad Mellon Photography & Mario Walker

The building provides 22,000 sf of high-tech multipurpose classrooms and a gymnasium for elementary, middle and high school students. The gymnasium with an elevated walking track is also available for use to the members of the surrounding Frayser community. It is flanked by a classroom block, which is linearly arranged to respond to the site conditions and take advantage of the daylighting. A student plaza was strategically located between the new facility and the existing school to create an outdoor gathering place where members of the school community can convene throughout the school day.

It is difficult to make architecture on a charter’s budget.
The building is fresh, and unapologetically cheerful.

Lanier Farm Park
archimania (Memphis)

Renovation/Restoration: In a municipality accustomed to playgrounds and sports fields, the idea of combining a working farm as a public park felt overwhelming to the constituents. With intensive public involvement throughout the design process, the project resulted in a new recreational model that ensures the community remains aware of where food comes from as well as the value of educating children.

Photo credit: archimania and Jamie Johnson Photography

The northern portion of the property became the public/education zone, and the southern part of the park, the production zone. The core activity area of the site facilitates program needs for school children. The layout provides flexible spaces that allow coordinating activities to overlap. Activity areas such as the community garden, discovery garden, kitchen garden, chicken yard, orchard, horse barn, and performance lawn are closely grouped and connected with paths that allow children to view and participate in multiple activities in a relatively small area. Wood fencing with wire mesh defines areas and provides a barrier between humans and animals.

Photo credit: archimania and Jamie Johnson Photography

Multiple lawn areas accommodate various size groups, from outdoor classrooms to fall festivals and concerts. Two renovated barns are used for classes and to provide an income stream through rentals for weddings, family reunions, and parties. The finished product portrays the messy personality of a farm. The farm has developed partnerships with the local university, hospital, and several nonprofits, each contributing to seasonal and yearly educational programs for children and adults. The bio-intensive growth methods produce a yield providing enough for the community supported agriculture association members, as well as generating a signification amount to donate to local food banks.

Appreciated the reading and mining modest/utilitarian building types, adjusting/calibrating.
With community involvement, and an architectural empathy, a previously private establishment is socialized, made into an accessible civic, educational and memorable place.

The McIlwaine Friendship Pavilion
Sanders Pace Architecture (Knoxville)

New construction: As the official botanical garden of the State of Tennessee the Gardens at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture occupy an important place on the University’s campus. The gardens solicited designer qualifications for a new pavilion which would serve as a multi-use facility for a number of events which take place within the garden. While the original brief requested the site adaptation of a vendor-provided pre-engineered structure, the design team presented a more site specific and place appropriate solution which was ultimately approved.

Photo credit: Denise Retallack

In order to keep the focus on the plantings within the garden, a solution which limits the profile and visual impact of the 60’ long structure was proposed. 4 central piers anchor the structure and provide a base for the low-slope butterfly roof which sets a horizontal datum underneath the canopy of two rows of mature oak trees. This roof directs rainwater to a 500 gallon cistern which provides irrigation for plantings while serving as an educational opportunity for students and Garden visitors.

Photo credit: Denise Retallack

The 4 central piers are clad in native crab orchard stone. With a roof structure composed of layers natural fir timbers and purlins supported by a galvanized steel structural system. The materials palette is reflective of some of the materials already found within the research campus and complementary to materials and plantings found within the garden. Now complete, the pavilion provides a fitting setting for educational and cultural events while also serving as a much needed revenue source funding research and community outreach initiatives which are at the core of the mission of the UT Gardens.

Appreciated including a critique of what was the kneejerk/given (low-hanging fruit of off the shelf prototypes), diagnosed site and illustrated research/test fits, and then carefully/thoughtfully administered the prescription.
Personally would like to know more the reason/story about the use of, and means of stone.

Poplar Foundation + Pyramid Peak
archimania (Memphis)

Interior architecture: Two Memphis philanthropic foundations teamed up to share new office spaces within a recently renovated Sears distribution facility, previously vacant for 20 years. Each tenant space is primarily made up of private office and meeting rooms.

Photo credit: n/a

A central mass of shared common spaces divide the tenants for selective privacy while allowing for shared resources. This primary organizing element is a “bow-tie” shaped mass that was developed to obscure the dominant and rigid column grid within the existing space. The bow-tie is comprised of a common conference room, hoteling office, storage and wet bar. The bow-tie also delineates separate entry sequences and offers the capability for dual reception when needed.

Photo credit:n/a

As a method to establish a level of refinement for both tenants, the bow-tie component is clad with sequenced, stained oak panels. The mass is carved out by the existing column grid and capitals, rendering the emphatic grid less obvious. Thin staggered planes further obscure the column grid and bound offices. Their thinness and lack of materiality contrast the mass and rich texture of the bow-tie. Mechanical crossovers bridging the bow-tie and offices conceal the exposed building systems that are typically present throughout the existing space.

One move elegantly solves a multitude of apparent challenges.
Definition/security, lighting, plan and material warmth variation against pragmatic “cool” offices.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Well done.

House for Five
designshop, pllc (Memphis)

New construction: A family of five outgrew their traditional cottage and moved to a small, rural, west Tennessee town where they sought a larger contemporary house with clean detailing and filled with light.

Photo credit: Chad Mellon Photographer

Sited adjacent to a soybean field on a dead end street, the design capitalizes on a site that is inherently private as it naturally exists. The house forms an “L” shape parti, screening views of the neighboring house while utilizing the natural tree edge to define the remaining two sides of a private rear lawn. Brick (required by covenants) walls form a solid, protective base upon which a lighter second story volume rests. The brick is punctured by floor-to-ceiling openings and extends beyond the enclosed envelope to wrap a deck and garden as part of the rear yard. The second story is rendered in a much lighter (and affordable) galvalume skin as its volume encloses not only the inhabitable spaces of the upper floor, but seamlessly integrates into a lower roof volume over the single story spaces. The owners sought an exterior that was clean, crisp and low maintenance with interiors that were white and filled with natural light. To save costs while offering a neutral backdrop for the owners’ limited art collection, interior finishes are reduced to white gypsum board walls, exposed concrete slab, and warm accents of walnut millwork throughout.

Photo credit: Chad Mellon Photographer

Entry is through a deeply recessed porch on the east, leading past a wood-screened stair toward the kitchen, dining, and living spaces, treated as a large continuous space. Programmatically, public spaces are centered on the ground level with large walls of glass offering expansive views, while the second story is more cellular with kids’ bedrooms. Although uniquely contemporary within a traditional context, the house is loved by the small-town neighbors.

Really liked the modesty of materials, no pool; attempts to claim exterior space.
Clearly programmed and executed design intent.

Elkmont Brewery
McCarty Holsaple McCarty (Knoxville)

A vacant building was renovated to bring new life to an area that was desperately awaiting rejuvenation. The building now serves as a Brewery and Eating House, and its dynamic facade acts as a symbol of new life for this quickly emerging, progressive neighborhood.

Photo credit: Ben Finch

The North Knoxville Neighborhood, located only a few miles from Downtown Knoxville is a district that has been slowly trying to revitalize. While the change had begun, there were still many dilapidated buildings sitting vacant with no prospect of future activity. The goal for the renovation of the existing building into a brewery and restaurant was to spark the redevelopment of this potentially vibrant area. Gathering inspiration from the radiant beauty of the Smoky Mountains and the unique history of the Elkmont region, Elkmont Exchange used a series of folding planes that act as a wrapper around the existing building. The warm wood pulled from Elkmont’s roots, undulates to create a dynamic skin to activate Broadway Avenue.

Photo credit: Ben Finch

The facade was contrived from a grant from the City of Knoxville showing their buy-in and support for the growth of the neighborhood with hope that this could be the catalyst for this area. Inside of the Brewery and Eating house, the openness and transparency allows for a direct connection between preparation and consumption. The strong roots of the Smoky Mountain’s Elkmont region are embedded throughout the interior of the space from the macro-scale wall graphic to the micro-scale wall hook.

Appreciated most the screen-wall; is it a wall or a fence?
Relation to grade and sky create a kind of temporary “fly” that shelters in-between spaces, which were seen as the most successful aspect of the project.

A Step Ahead
archimania (Memphis)

Interior architecture: A non-profit organization had been operating out of a space that did not lend itself to collaboration. They decided to relocate into a massive, newly renovated distribution warehouse in one of the most ethnically diverse and economically challenged neighborhoods in Memphis.

Photo credit: archimania

A major challenge was to fit a large program into a small tenant space on a limited budget, creating connections and openness despite the privacy requirements. The client required space for training, meeting, and workspaces requiring some closed offices due to HIPPA concerns. The cost of the project includes raw, shell cost, as a vanilla box was not developed by the shell and core developer. A large part of the client’s workflow involves marketing to women in need and possible cooperative organizations. The public face of the project offers a significant opportunity to provide information and resources to passers-by in a non-invasive way. The concept of a ‘Little Free Library’ inspired a boldly-colored millwork wall containing openings for views, literature, announcements, and advertising.

Photo credit: archimania

To create a feeling of openness, and to work within a modest budget, the original concrete ceilings were left exposed. A series of bulkheads with dark-blue interiors define work zones. These zones participate in a strategy of progressively eroding private offices along the corridor toward the day-lit exterior face of the building. Desired sightlines were identified to perforate the forms and create functional connections. The simple detailing and palette of white and dark-blue paint, maple millwork, and yellow accents participate in promoting the organization’s growth, outreach, and brand.

Punching above its weight class.
Variations/sequence of functional plan and section deliver a great place to work.
Clouds work very well; color just enough

Design Miami Pavilions
Branch Technology & SHoP Architects (Chattanooga)

New construction: Design Miami represents the 2016 Panerai Design Miami / Visionary Award commission to create an exhibition entry sequence combining freeform 3D printing with parametric design. The client wanted to advance building technologies and material innovations through 3D printing by leveraging direct digital fabrication through new software and robotic technologies to achieve mass customization.

Photo credit: Robin Hill and Miami Design District Associates

The result was two lattice gridshell pavilions. Pavilion A provides an open public gathering space while Pavilion B incorporates a lounging area constructed of bamboo fiber reinforced Fused Deposition Modeling components. Assembled they provided an organically inspired interactive environment.

Photo credit: Robin Hill and Miami Design District Associates

The brief required a solution that could quickly be assembled onsite to host several programmatic spaces, promote innovative technologies and utilize pre-fabrication to facilitate transport and re-assembly to its current location in the Miami Design District where the pavilions function as community gathering spaces.
Project aspects:
World’s largest freeform 3D printed structures
Total printed volume – 1,354 cuft
45 freeformed components
Largest component – 25’x7’x6” weighing 175 lbs

Essentially a shade structure, the jury recognized this project as a glimpse into the future of building delivery systems.
The biomorphic result was much appreciated.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro at Smyrna Campus/Nissan Training Center
Tuck-Hinton Architects (Nashville)

New construction: Flagship educational and training facility focused on public/private collaboration in developing a focused, skilled workforce to support local manufacturing industry.

Photo credit: Parker Studios

This prototype facility was envisioned as a new model for developing a local skilled labor force with support and investment from local private industry. More specifically, the building was planned to be a joint-use facility between a state workforce development/higher education entity and a global auto manufacturer. The facility not only needed to provide spaces that were conducive to both learning and demonstration, but also inspirational and forward-looking in terms of technology and flexibility.

Photo credit: Parker Studios

Each entity provided a separate program of spaces required to support their needs, and much effort was spent identifying efficiencies and synergies between varying programmatic functions. The resulting building is comprised of both classroom and lab type spaces where students and trainees are able to learn, through conceptual instruction as well as hands-on training, the latest practices related to manufacturing and automotive trades.The building’s layout and infrastructure configuration required careful consideration, and was designed to support and anticipate future industry innovation.

Ultimately, the building needed to serve as a showplace for both education and industry. A high level of visibility and light was desired to inspire and excite potential students, in addition to exhibiting the potential for what other facilities of this type could achieve throughout the state – all with a budget of a little over $200 per square foot.

Big gesture totally in line with big building.
Diagram followed through in execution, legible.
Un-fussed over, confident, enlightened.

The Flying Squirrel
Tinker Ma, formerly Cogent Studio (Chattanooga)

New construction: The Flying Squirrel was designed to be a destination bar and restaurant that attracts travelers while serving as a hub for the local Southside neighbors.

Photo credit: Grant Dotson Commercial and Sam Silvey, Spectruss

The clients desired a solution that would serve two purposes: providing an amenity for guests of their neighboring hostel, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts; and attracting locals by offering what feels like a communal gathering place. The clients wanted the space to embrace the outdoors and feel inviting to guests fresh off the trails. The resulting design features comfortable outdoor areas, including a cozy, landscaped patio, a “cedar room” space with a table for larger groups and an indoor/outdoor bar that allows patrons to experience great service and the charms of the outdoors from either side of the bar. The ambience and tone of the space is equally conducive to a big night out on the town or a quick beer after a day in the woods.

Photo credit: Grant Dotson Commercial and Sam Silvey, Spectruss

Inside, the main volume is two stories, with a mezzanine space covering part of the interior. Musicians play on the mezzanine during brunch service, but their sound carries to the downstairs and beyond thanks to the open concept. A two-story block behind the main volume houses kitchen, restrooms and corporate offices. A passion for nature also guided the sustainable elements of the Squirrel. The design employed careful mechanical engineering, including solar hot water, shading and siting, as well as extensive use of reclaimed wood. Furthermore, the owner, project team and City of Chattanooga worked together to complete a pilot street stormwater project that incorporates pedestrian-friendly and innovative techniques. This element of the project was awarded the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2014.

Of the overall commercial submissions, appreciated that exterior/interior were seamless.
Not heavily branded/literal quotations or designed nostalgia; not steampunked to death.
Clear materials: concrete, steel, wood, metal roofing.
Building is the signage.
Feathered edges of interior/exterior.

Alfred Williams & Company
Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC (Nashville)

The adaptive reuse and unification of four existing, mid-century warehouse buildings creates a thoughtful, modern, working showroom; a gallery for the art of workplace furnishings.

Alfred Williams & Company, the exclusive representative for Herman Miller in middle Tennessee, relocated to a burgeoning neighborhood, an area quickly developing into a design district for the city. This adaptive reuse rejuvenates an assemblage of four mid-century warehouse buildings. The modern and crisp aesthetic is the perfect backdrop for the refined products Alfred Williams showcases. The design concept is reflective of an art gallery – open, bright, and clean – the space is a canvas for the furniture.

Photo credit: Nick McGinn

Circulation facilitates a unique and deliberate procession. The once disjointed, multi-level circuitous pathways through the buildings are transformed into wide corridors and ramps, sittable steps and break-out moments. The main ramp connects the entry, open workspace, library and work café. The secondary ramp leads to a customer experience showroom, with a large meeting room and mock-up space. Creating connectivity throughout promotes a highly customizable and exploratory experience, and reflects the energetic culture of Alfred Williams & Company.

Photo credit: Nick McGinn

Through their partnership with Herman Miller, Alfred Williams & Company is utilizing their new space as a laboratory for the “Living Office,” a work environment that harnesses natural motivations and compels quality work. Living Office proposes a shift from standardized workstations and generic meeting rooms to a diverse landscape of purposeful settings. The freeform building plan employed provides abundant flexibility and accommodates activation beyond 8am-5pm with workspace doubling as casual gathering and event space.

Reading/mining of a modest building type to let it be all it is.
Nothing more than structure and light, coat of paint.
Did not overreach; all it needs to be.

Patterson Condo
archimania (Memphis)

Interior architecture: The client wished to transform a downtown Memphis condo into an exhibition space to house part of his extensive art collection.

Photo credit: archimania and Crye-Leike, Inc. REALTORS

Three elements organize the 1,500 SF dwelling. The primary element is a charcoal stained oak veneer monolith of shelving, used to divide the space about the long axis, while also displaying the smaller artifacts within the art collection. This monolith is caped on one end by a fireplace and the other a fish tank. A cradle of lighter, contrasting oak veneer holds the space, wrapping up three of the four perimeter walls. This wooden cradle translates into an art viewing bench, the kitchen millwork, storage spaces for the office and bedroom, and built-in furniture. The restrooms are contained within a glass box impacting the directionality of the gallery/dwelling minimally.

Photo credit: archimania and Crye-Leike, Inc. REALTORS

The small space features two balconies. The direction of the monolith, a linear light fixture in the living space extends the view, and minimal glass balcony doors help celebrate the exceptional views of Beale Street to the East and the Mississippi River to the West. Two smaller windows are thoughtfully framed, showcasing additional views of Memphis.

Quite the “transformation”.
Smart plan makes small space seem bigger than it is.
Seeing past the just finished delivery, with full occupation and “stuff”, should prove a great backdrop for living.