Knoxville Architecture & Design – Want to Learn More?


I started jogging in January, on my lunch breaks, at the gym above my office in the old Tyson School Building on the corner of Neyland Drive and Cumberland Avenue. I had been mostly sedentary since the birth of my son 10 months earlier, and I was ready to get fit and improve my overall health. Despite the small space and worn treadmill, I had everything I needed. From the top level of my office perched above Tyson Park, I had a grand view of the landscape below, all the way from UT campus to Bearden.

The view was just enough to distract my mind from the excruciating reality of what I was making my body do.

For months, I watched the fabric of our city bounce up and down and up and down to the rhythm of my gait on that treadmill. I watched the tractor-trailers cruising down Alcoa Highway, merging onto I-40 — red, orange, blue. I noticed how the Sequatchie Concrete Company owns its place on Sutherland Avenue, how the News Sentinel building assumes its perch on the neighboring ridge. I looked at the Knoxville Walk Apartments and thought about what kind of people lived there. Were those Knoxvillians the same as me? I saw the buildings defining the outskirts of campus, where I spent so many years dreaming of my future. 

This winter, I recognized the efforts of the men and women who had come before me to make this big little city so great. I thought about the amazing people who work tirelessly now to build upon what came before them; to honor the past and what is here, while continuing to improve and revitalize our spaces for future generations.  

Those hours on the treadmill gave me the chance to appreciate what I had become numb to: our beautiful city.

After I started noticing and appreciating that tiny slice of Knoxville I could see from my office gym, I started to pay attention to other areas of town that I inhabit on a daily or weekly basis, and I realized how beautiful they are too. Do you ever marvel at the architecture of our city? Are there spaces that you find beautiful and inviting? Do you want to learn more about the architecture and design community here in Knoxville?

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is dedicated to the continuous growth, improvement and revitalization of Knoxville, and every year, in conjunction with National Architecture Week, to raise awareness of this, they host [Knoxville] By Design.

[Knoxville] By Design includes a week of activities and events that celebrate the places that give shape to our stories, our lives, and our communities.

If you’re interested in celebrating this place that we call home, and you want to know more about the architecture and design community here, please join us for [Knoxville] By Design coming up during the month of April. We have a great line-up of events including a LEGO design competition for the kiddos, an online voting poll where you can cast your vote for Knoxville’s best new architecture, and a guided tour of local modern homes.  

A full listing of events includes:

Instagram Contest (#knoxbydesign)
Online People’s Choice Vote (April 1 – April 30)
Art Salon (A First Friday event, April 5, 5:30-9:00 @ Free Service Tire) 
Modernism Home Tour (Saturday, April 6 – tickets are on sale now)
UT Lecture – Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates (Monday, April 15, 5:30-7:00 @ The Auditorium of the Student Union)

Trivia Night (Tuesday, April 16, 6:00-8:00 @ Central Flats & Taps)
The Symposium (Friday, April 12, 6:30-8:00 @ The Square Room)
Design Slam (Thursday, April 11, 5:30-7:30 @ Schulz Brau)
Knox Bricks & Blocks  LEGO design competition (Saturday, April 27, 2:00-4:00 @ East Tennessee History Historical Museum Auditorium – registration is now open)

Design Awards Gala (Saturday, May 4, 6:00-10:00 @ Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum)

For more information, visit the website at

Hope to see you there! Together, we can celebrate our great city and work to make Knoxville the best it can be for future generations.


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