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University of Tennessee-Knoxville

September 2, 2014

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students will host the largest architecture student conference of the year in Nashville this winter.

Architecture students from around the country will attend workshops and seminars led by professionals, lectures by world-renowned guests and networking events that will help them better prepare for the profession. AIAS is an independent nonprofit student-run organization dedicated to providing programs, information and resources on issues critical to architectural education. It has been in existence for six decades.

This is the first time the forum is being held in Tennessee.

"This year, AIAS Forum will put the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the city of Nashville in the spotlight," said Breanna Weaver, forum conference chair and former UT AIAS chapter president. "I think it's hard for us to mask our pride and enthusiasm as we prepare to present our school and the region to the rest of the architecture community. We're making our mark on a tradition that has spanned almost 60 years."

The 2014 theme is Reverb, a play on the spirit of the Music City. Selection to host the forum was competitive. It required a formal bid, a vote by AIAS members; financial backing from the home university; and a presentation to the AIAS's National Board of Directors, the Council of Presidents and the AIAS general body at the 2012 forum. 

The AIAS Forum will showcase the architectural side of Nashville and Tennessee through city walks, architecture firm visits and museum tours. It also will feature a New Year's Eve Beaux Arts ball.

"UT students have been working on this for over two years, so we are more than ready to get people registered and let the fun begin," Weaver said.

The conference also will mark the 10th anniversary of AIAS's philanthropy, Freedom by Design, which provides accessibility solutions for community members with disabilities. All projects are completely designed, planned and constructed by AIAS members. The UT Freedom by Design chapter is one of the most widely regarded programs in the country and just completed its third major project this past spring.

More information about the AIAS Forum is available through at or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for "AIASForum2014."

UT Architecture and Design Improving Facilities with $2.5M Dedicated to Updated Labs, New Building

The College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is improving its facilities over the next year through renovations and upgrades to the Art and Architecture Building and its newly acquired facility in downtown Knoxville.

A total of $2.5 million is being dedicated to mechanical upgrades, design lab equipment and state-of-the-art digital fabrication tools to create new collaborative environments throughout the Art and Architecture Building. It will feature study areas for students, lighting upgrades, updated restrooms, a redesigned Student Services Center, upgraded student breakout labs and state-of-the-art digital panel displays for group projects, as well as two new kitchenettes designed by students.

Advanced design laboratories, or studios, will feature 400 new student work stations to replace decades-old equipment. Each student will have a work space with a new desk, chair, storage system, lighting and computer monitors for design projects.

"Through our exceptional faculty and their nationally recognized work, our college is emerging as a leader in the areas of sustainability and urbanization," said Scott Poole, dean of the college. "Our goal is to create the best teaching and learning environments for our students and faculty through new spaces and equipment on par with contemporary design practice. We want our students to be excited, inspired and proud of our facilities."

The College of Architecture and Design is home to three disciplines—architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. This fall, the college will welcome its most diverse incoming class in recent years with students hailing from 12 states and five countries.

As part of the renovations, $250,000 of the total sum will go toward a new design laboratory for the incoming Governor's Chair—a research team led by Phil Enquist from internationally recognized architecture, engineering and design firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. Over five years, the team will investigate regenerative energy strategies and urban density through a joint appointment between UT and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Governor's Chair work will occur in the college's recently acquired 20,000 square-foot fabrication facility and design studio at 525 N. Gay St., referred to as the Fab Lab. The facility will have more than $600,000 in new equipment, including computer-aided design and manufacturing machinery such as computer numerically controlled mills, laser cutters, 3D printers and robotics. High-performance metal fabrication materials including digital lathes and mills will complement the college's existing wood shop equipment in the Art and Architecture Building.

"Our new facilities provide us with the capacity to realize projects that were beyond our reach in the past," Poole said. "I am excited by the possibilities. We are convinced that our new facilities will enable our faculty and students to achieve new levels of excellence."

The improvements are part of the changes that have occurred under the college's new administration, which has been reshaped since 2011. Over the last three years, they have created an office for student services and advising, acquired new furniture and workspaces for students, improved staff work areas, created new spaces for the growing leadership and faculty, removed graffiti in the building and refurbished the building's primary auditorium.

The college also has helped bring about a research partnership with furnisher Herman-Miller to create an advanced design studio lab for students and established a new gallery with storefront exhibits at the college's 500 S. Gay Street Downtown Studio.


  • Regional News
  • News
  • Conference - Annual
  • Forum
  • Southeast Region
  • East Central
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee
  • AIAS
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • The American Institute of Architecture Students

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