(Knoxville, TN) – The Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Tennessee) celebrated the 2019 Design Awards in Knoxville during AIA Tennessee’s Conference on Architecture. To salute excellence in architecture, AIA Tennessee conducts an annual Design Awards program. This program honors built works of distinction designed by AIA Tennessee members, and brings to public attention their outstanding architectural accomplishments.
Katherine Ambroziak, AIA (Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, College of Architecture and Design, University of Tennessee Knoxville) chaired the 2019 program. Allan Kehrt, FAIA (Founding Partner, KSS Architects) was the jury chair and assembled an outstanding group of design professionals to review the entries. Jury members were Patrick Burke, AIA (Principal, Michael Graves Architecture & Design), Michael Farewell, FAIA (Partner, Farewell Architects) Merilee Meacock, AIA (Partner, KSS Architects) and Daniel Rew, AIA (Design Director, HDR).
The sixteen projects were unanimously chosen from a field of 111 submittals, all of which received thoughtful consideration. The jurors noted the diverse range of work and elegant solutions to challenges presented. The jury comments for the awarded projects are shown below:
Nineteenth Century Club – Looney Ricks Kiss (Memphis)
The restoration and conversion of this 1907 mansion represents serious dedication on the part of the community, owner, and architect. Slated for demolition, the new programming and use of historic tax credits made the restoration economically viable. The painstaking research and sensitivity to the historic condition are clearly evident in the detailing and use of materials. The result is beautiful and spatially honest. This project has great potential as a flagship to turn the neighborhood around.
Girls Inc. of Memphis – archimania (Memphis)
The jury loved seeing the mission of the non-profit expressed through the design. Girls, Inc. strives to make an impact in economically depressed neighborhoods by inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. On a very limited budget and with minimal interventions, the design makes a great impression on the local community. The large porches and internal thresholds are especially inviting, and the branding and bold graphics provide inspiration to the youth.
Noelle – Dryden Architecture and Design (Nashville), Feltus Hawkins Design (Nashville)
Interior Architectural Design
The historic Noel Hotel provided a great framework to explore hospitality at its highest. Architects were charged with redesign of the existing 1930s interiors and new construction of an addition that added about 25% more capacity. New and old are in dialog with one another, with similar lines and complementary details, but are clearly distinguished through use of material and color. There is great attention to detail throughout and a richness that delivers on the experience.
Visible Music College – archimania (Memphis)
Student Studios finds opportunity to create a quality dormitory experience in a tight ally space between two buildings. With minimal means and restricted square footages, the designers achieve quite a bit through simple interjections – Juliet balconies and a “proscenium”-like interface with the parking that can serve as a true outdoor stage when the cars are cleared. The building has nice composition and a clean sequence of public spaces. The jury described it as a “jewel” in the rough of the urban campus.
Metro Nashville Police Department and Family Safety Center – Hastings Architecture (Nashville) and TMPartners (Nashville)
The hybrid program of police headquarters and family safety center pose initial challenges related to public perception – what is the role of each of these institutions to the larger community and how are they meant to interact? The submission clearly demonstrates an approach by which each structure maintains its own public identity and approach from the neighborhood, yet are in dialog through common architectural elements of unifying plinth, courtyard, and material pallet. The sequence of images explain the public interaction with a well-composed ensemble of forms and unique components associated with each of the programs.
UTHSC Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation – brg3s (Memphis)
Healthcare and laboratory research are often challenging program types, but the submission for this academic facility demonstrates a rigorous and consistent approach not only to the internal planning, but also the external composition that relates to its context in an urban campus. The massing is well-suited to its corner infill site, making a nice connection to the adjacent General Education Building and taking advantage of the park that it fronts. The primary street elevation maintains the rhythms and alignments from adjacent buildings while projecting its own identity. The undercutting of the façade offers special invitation and humanizes the scale of the overall mass.
OrthoSouth – archimania (Memphis)
Designers of this small scale clinic pushed its minimal material pallet to generate quite a rich experience. Though seemingly heavy on the outside, anchoring the site of this industrial zoned subdivision, the interior is softened by natural daylighting made possible by large entry apertures and a strategically located inner courtyard. The jury complemented the elegant solution and appreciated the use of biophilic design principles geared toward user-experience and well-being
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
The Eastland – Hastings Architecture (Nashville)
Located on a transitional site between small-scale residential and a light commercial corridor, the Eastland elegantly addresses its dual responsibilities to its neighborhood. The designers break down the larger massing to form an urban edge appropriate to the context, paying special attention to the street scape and varying degrees of privacy for each tenant type. The concept of flexible programming in the individual micro-units offers versatility, even in such a limited square footage. In a region of the city that is beginning to see redevelopment, the jury believes the Eastland can serve as a model for hybrid program development.
Crosstown Concourse – Looney Ricks Kiss (Memphis) in association with DIALOG
The effort of organizing the community to save this building is as laudable as the design itself. The owner and architect saw great value in the bones of the abandoned distribution center and envisioned it as a catalyst for greater community engagement. The reclaimed spaces focus both outward to the neighborhood with refurbished industrial windows and ground level porosity and inward through its animated atrium spaces that offer daylighting and visual connection. The details of the glazing and vertical circulation are featured throughout, helping to unite the spaces while also offering distinct identity to the various functions. The clever reuse of elements and motifs relating to the building’s industrial past give it a sense of history that harmonizes with its contemporary uses. This project truly champions the mission of valuing and empowering a community.
Nash Tiny House – archimania (Memphis)
The Starkville retreat house is a simple design that conveys a multi-layered storyline – it was conceptualized as a gathering porch, is reminiscent of a previous fishing trailer on site, and carries the love of its occupant’s own construction. The project sits as a piece of modern vernacular, with its quirky offset gable and carved porch. Sheathed in a two-toned metal skin, the painted and natural wood interior conveys the warmth and light of its wooded setting. The careful, minimal design is playful, yet demonstrates a true economy of means worthy of recognition.
Calloway Ridge House – Sanders Pace Architecture (Knoxville)
This project represents an extraordinary transformation of a typical suburban ranch house to an open, contemporary courtyard dwelling. The designers were strategic with how they maintained the original massing of the structure, creating opportunities out of minor misalignments and denoting new and old building masses through changes of materials. The new plan is well organized – public interior spaces read as open plan with support functions sanctioned to compact poche zones. Transitions from public to private are well considered and become integral to the composition as a whole. The new pavilions in the back break down the volume and define an engaging outdoor space.
The Nashville Food Project – Gresham Smith (Nashville)
This is a great little building! This mission of the non-profit is community driven and the new headquarters building truly seems to represent its values. Integrated into the neighborhood through scale, material, and form, as well as program, it offers staff, volunteers, and meal guests a sensory experience based on food, light, and companionship. The order of the plan is well composed and easy to understand from the diagrams and axonometrics. The massing and elevations are well detailed. The designers have been careful in what they’ve done, showing sophisticated restraint, and making a powerful statement with minimal moves.
Vandeven Condo – archimania (Memphis)
This old bank has seen a lot of different uses in its time and has now been adapted as an AirBnB with retail. With the different characteristics of each floor plate, it would have been easy to subdivide it into different tenant spaces, but the owner and architect avoided this temptation and created a great experience for its users. The resulting architecture shows restraint and appreciation for the original façade and bones of the building. There is minimal intervention, with new walls reading almost furniture-like. The restoration work and new millwork are both finely executed. The jury applauds the ambition to champion the downtown area and to make this abandoned building relevant for contemporary use.
Old Dominick Distillery – Looney Ricks Kiss (Memphis)
The architects took full advantage of the warehouse structures and materials pallet, elevating them to create a visitor-centered experience. There is a great coupling of public and working spaces to reveal the complex process of distillery. The layering of views through transparent planes occurs at multiple levels, sharing views as well as daylighting. The details are well considered and executed and the spatial sequencing is fluid
Alloy – EOA Architects (Nashville)
While Alloy’s outward expression is fun and playful, its employment of pre-fabricated modular construction speaks to a more technical side of design and the architect/fabricator/contractor collaboration. The jury appreciated the attention the designers took in explaining the process and why it is important in terms of construction time, material resources, and quality control. The exterior material choice, colors, and super graphics characterize an industrial vernacular appropriate for the context. Minor slippages in massing, angling of forms, and perforated quality of the metal skins offer nice moments of surprise.
Sony Music Nashville – Hastings Architecture (Nashville)
Interior Architectural Design
The new direction being taken by Sony Music Nashville to position itself globally is truly reflected in the interior design of these new artist-centric spaces. The plan is efficient and clean, rendering an open feel that taking full advantage of natural daylighting. The minimal material and color pallet is restrained and sophisticated, and there is a wonderful integration of art and architecture.
The jurors congratulated all the Tennessee designers who entered their projects, and conveyed their respect and appreciation for each design.