Student, Faculty Design/Build Project Recognized with Statewide Award of Excellence

Aug. 03, 2017

The multi-awarded Beardsley Farm Education Center has earned statewide recognition from the Tennessee American Institute of Architects. The project, a product of the college’s successful design/build program, received the Design Award of Excellence, the organization’s highest honor, during its state convention in Memphis this month.

A Dallas-based blind jury reviewed about 90 submissions for this year’s awards. The education center was the only new-construction project winning an Award of Excellence.

Led by professors Jennifer Akerman and Bob French, students and faculty designed and largely built the 1,200-square-foot center at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, an urban farm that serves those in need in Knoxville. The structure used more than 30,000 bricks donated by General Shale to provide a classroom, office spaces and restrooms for the farm. Students also designed and built an amphitheater for the outdoor classroom.

The jury, chaired by Ron Stelmarski of Perkins + Will, Dallas, shared its admiration of the overall design both spatially and materially. Their comments stated that they were impressed with the level of craft and overall quality of the project, noting the constraints of budget and construction time.

“The jury understood and appreciated the complex ambitions of the project and its fundamental connections to the park, the basketball court and the farm, serving as a link joining many groups within the community,” said Akerman.

The Education Center also earned the 2017 Brick in Architecture Gold Award from the Brick Industry Association; the 2016 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects East Tennessee and the organization’s 2016 People’s Choice Award and Member’s Choice award, decided by popular vote. Also, Akerman and French received the 2016 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award for their role in the Beardsley Farm Education Center.