The Institute for Smart Structures offers research and development in architecture and engineering for the building sector by combining the areas of material science, engineering and architecture to solve immediate problems as well as provide revolutionary concepts for new applications.
Directed by James Rose, the Institute for Smart Structures is a research center where academia, government research and industry meet. The center is housed in UT Knoxville’ s College of Architecture and Design and provides a platform for collaboration for faculty and researchers from the College of Architecture and Design, the College of Engineering and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The UT Institute for Smart Structures has as its vision “enabling technology for developing smart structures and materials.” It emphasizes technologies that improve the quality of architecture and the building envelope in the 21st century focusing on sustainability, energy, health and safety and economy.
In the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, the Institute for Smart Structure focused on the integration of aesthetics, technology, and energy efficient construction through the idea of Living Light. This concept not only relates to the sun, daylight and energy; it is a way of life that actively engages each participant in a learning experience to promote sustainable living.
More than 200 UT students and faculty across nine academic disciplines designed the house for the Solar Decathlon. UT placed eighth overall in the decathlon and claimed high-standing marks in several categories, including first in energy production, third in engineering, third in hot-water production, third in energy-efficient appliances, and fifth in architecture.
After the Decathlon, the house transformed into a mobile exhibition known as the Tennessee Tour. Living Light traveled over 4,000 miles to five cities – Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga. During the Tennessee Tour, the home was personally toured by more than 50,000 visitors. It was also a featured exhibit at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, as one of only seventeen projects chosen to represent the nation’s land-grant universities during the festival, which commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of land-grant universities and the US Department of Agriculture. During its time on the National Mall, the house was seen by an estimated one million people.
Living Light House can be toured at the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
UT Zero is a multidisciplinary project that seeks to develop new technologies for zero energy building for the University of Tennessee and the state of Tennessee. Our desire is to promote net-zero energy consumption and zero carbon emission technology. Our mission is to bring students and faculty from various programs together to collaborate on UT Zero Energy projects. More information is available at http://utzero.utk.edu/.
In partnership with the ORNL Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC), the college’s Institute for Smart Structures has focused its research on emerging materials and their impact on energy-efficient and energy-harvesting building envelopes. In this context, the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) can be seen as the most recent in a series of three full-scale prototypes that each build upon their predecessor’s innovations. AMIE also demonstrates design and innovation of College of Architecture and Design students and faculty, who worked collaboratively with UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to develop AMIE. Click here for more information.
Funded by the state of Tennessee and ORNL, the Governor’s Chair program attracts top researchers to broaden and enhance the unique research partnership that exists between the state’s flagship university and the nation’s largest multi-program laboratory. In 2014, Philip Enquist, partner in charge of urban design and planning and leader of the City Design Practice at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, was named the sixteenth UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair. Enquist and a select research team serve as Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments and will be affiliated with and administer projects through the UT College of Architecture and Design. The Governor’s Chair team is a research partnership among many designers at the firm who specialize in sustainable urbanism and high-performance buildings. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s City Design Practice is the world’s most highly awarded urban planning group, and SOM is one of the world’s leading urban planning, architecture and engineering firms.