december 8, 2006
  Pick Me! Eleven Projects Capture Awards in the Volunteer State

Summary: AIA Tennessee members demonstrate their architectural excellence through the 11 entries a Charlotte-based jury selected as the chapter’s 2006 Design Awards. The projects represent a diversity of type, from a Modern barn for elephants to a retail optical store to affordable housing, and present the best of the best architecture from the Volunteer State.

Awards of Excellence: New Construction

Project: Woodside Pavilions
Location: Monteagle, Tenn.
Firm: Bauer Askew Architecture
This home, composed of three unifying volumes focused on an exterior court, displays a sensitive response to its context and attitude toward living. Its pavilions address the topography by sitting parallel to the ridgeline and take advantage of views and solar orientation. The spaces present an ambiguity of weighted volume and open transparency that seems best resolved when considering the interior. Here, the refined and bright surfaces are punctuated by the bold, beautiful millwork details that read as floating objects. The four-foot grid provides a clear ordering system that relates interior and exterior elements. Overall, the elegant disposition of parts and consistency of expression give a settled and unassuming reading of “home.”
Photo © Tom Bauer.

Project: GE5 Townhomes
Location: Memphis
Firm: archimania
GE5 Townhomes offers a nicely articulated, repetitive system of unit housing. The economic use of material—polished concrete block, metal, and glass—is well detailed and accentuates the depth of the public street façade. In good contrast, the parking elevation presents a massive, protective surface with deliberate planar punctuation to create shadow and identify the separate units. The individual units follow a single-loaded, shotgun plan that uses natural daylight, brought in through a central lightwell. Interior details, such as a bathroom mirror that floats in front of the window, reflecting the image of a window on the opposite end of the unit, show a creative spirit and help to extend and brighten spaces. Through a minimal pallet, the designers were able to create a rich and warm interior and a harmonious reading with the exterior.
Photo © Jeffrey Jacobs.

Project: Vanderbilt University Student Life Center
Location: Nashville
Firm: Gilbert/McLaughlin Architects
The jury appreciated the contextual considerations and development of the exterior public spaces as sequential to the experience of the building’s interior. The architects resolved the difficulty of addressing a site with multiple “front doors” by incorporating a range of entry conditions of different scales that react to the immediate context but are consistent with the overall image of the building. The design is sympathetic to the surrounding buildings and outdoor areas. The dynamic sectional effect of the layering of spatial zones produces a natural day lighting of interior spaces that share a common mood with the surrounding courtyards. The jury hopes to encourage academic buildings to follow this model.
Photo © Tom Gatlin.

Awards of Merit: New Construction

Project: A Modern Barn for Asian Elephants
Location: Hohenwald, Tenn.
Firm: Cary F. Dunn Architect
The jury was pleasantly surprised by the innovative use of material, attention to sustainability, and the clever formal layering presented by the solution the architects used for this elephant refuge. The design reinterprets the traditional Tennessee barn and charges it with light and air. The plan and section clearly demarcate the space of the animal and human, and describes a life cycle captured metaphorically and functionally with a cistern system that captures rainwater for washing, and a recycling system that uses waste for fertilizer. Photo © Cary F. Dunn, AIA.

Project: Svatos Poolhouse
Location: Flint Hill, Va.
Firm: archimania
The Svatos Poolhouse presents a Modern interpretation of a country house that immediately struck a chord with the jury members as a beautifully composed volume sitting gently in its surroundings. The main façade presents a study in composition, with its subtle asymmetry, simple lines, and balanced forms. The unique siding creates a unifying texture that is clearly background but contains enough interest to stand on its own in less articulated areas of the elevations. Photo © Maxwell Mackenzie.

Project: The Mercado
Location: Rosemary Beach, Fla.
Firm: Looney Ricks Kiss Architects
With a program that requires density and economy, the solution offers a significant area on the ground plane for pedestrian use producing a positive effect on the overall urban plan. So as not to overwhelm the neighboring context, scale is addressed through the consistent use of material, articulation of mass, and layering of program. The detail of how the building meets the ground is especially respectful. The design suggests a reverence for the nearby town hall and surrounding area and offers its tenants the promise of open engagement, light, and air. Photo © Jack Gardner Photography.

Project: 1800 Cowart Street
Location: Chattanooga
Firm: Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects PLLC
This project demonstrates a desire to create something special out of what is typically a neglected project type. With a tight budget of $89/square foot, the architect and designer produced units that amass to form an elegant exterior that speaks of both the individual and community. The front porches and individual balconies give a sense of ownership. The changes in scale and material create an elegant street presence with the planting and gardens thoughtfully considered. Though some of the interior details were found to be overworked, the overall execution of the design reads as a model to be followed when dealing with housing at all income levels.
Photo © Harlan Hambright.

Award of Excellence: Renovation and Restoration

Project: Restoration of an Historic Church & Renovation and Addition to the Parish House
Location: Clarksville, Tenn.
Firm: Lyle Cook Martin
The restoration of the historic church is a labor of love. It was important to all involved to preserve the history of the community, and to this end the design team put forth a painstaking effort of research and salvage in a classic restoration while employing current technology and building methods. The designers updated church amenities and the parish house. The jury appreciated the clarity of the written document that communicated the personal investment and engagement of the parish and the community and the architects’ use the project as a foil for educating the public on issues of architecture and restoration. Photo © Bill Persinger.

Awards of Merit: Renovation and Restoration

Project: Façade Improvements @ 304 South Gay Street
Location: Downtown Knoxville
Firm: sanders | pace architecture llc
This project shows the architect’s courage in replacing a dilapidated historic brick façade with a contemporary composition of zinc and wood. The design moves away from the tradition of preserving the existing fabric, whether good or bad, and recognizes that not all historic structure has value. The architect read the existing pattern and subtle compositional nuances of the existing asymmetrical façade and translated this into a contemporary, layered façade design that is complementary to its surrounding context. It brings natural light deeper into the building and provides an elevated exterior area for added engagement with the street.
Photo © Jeffrey Jacobs Photography.

Project: AmeriSite 6th Avenue Storage
Location: Nashville
Firm: Everton Oglesby Architects PLLC
With an adaptive reuse, the AmeriSite 6th Avenue Storage broke all preconceived notions of what a storage facility would be. By addressing the pedestrian scale and paying special attention to the street façade, the designers developed a handsome image for the company that truly seems to improve its surrounding environment. The jury especially appreciated the use of a complementary pallet layered throughout the building and the use of transparency that worked both to bring in natural light and set the storage doors up as showroom items, giving a clear reading of purpose. Photo © Tom Gatlin.

Award of Merit: Architectural Interior Design

Project: The Eclectic Eye
Location: Collierville, Tenn.
Firm: archimania
The Eclectic Eye interior design presents an enjoyable and distinctive alternative to the conventional corporate model of retail design. Stripped of the large advertising images, the subtle design pallet of white gallery walls, wood for display areas, and the dark, stained concrete floors sets the eyeglass product as the object of attention. The lighting is integral to the scheme: it disappears on the edges to display the eyewear as if in a gallery space. The non-assuming design plays up the visual quality of the narrow linear space, even more effective when considering this as a space devoted to “seeing.”
Photo © Jeffrey Jacobs.

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The AIA Tennessee jurors Thomas P. Duffy, AIA; David P. Hutcheson, AIA; and Andrew McLellan all hail from Charlotte.

AIArchitect thanks Sheila Leggett, AIA Tennessee, vice president, operations, for her assistance with this article.

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