January 30, 2023 Faculty Recognized with National Education, Creativity, Diversity Awards

Six faculty members were honored with national ACSA and AIA 2023 Architectural Education Awards in the categories of Diversity Achievement, Housing Design Education and Creative Achievement.


Zingoni and Team Receive National Diversity Achievement Award

A team led by Milagros Zingoni Phielipp, associate professor and director of our School of Interior Architecture, earned a national diversity award that recognizes the achievement of greater diversity through outreach and engagement.

elevated view of outdoor pavilion

Zingoni and team received the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2023 Diversity Achievement Award, which recognizes the work of faculty and others to achieve diversity and incorporate contributions of historically underrepresented groups. Specifically, they were recognized for the design/build project, Proyecto Volcadero, that used design to develop social agency and transformation for a community in Venezuela.

Zingoni was the principal investigator for this binational effort, leading a large team including Professor Oriana Venti, Universidad de Oriente; Professor Sonia Garcia, Universidad de Oriente; Oriana Gil Perez, Arizona State University, who also were named in the ACSA award.

“We are truly honored and humbled by this recognition given by ACSA,” Zingoni said. “This project was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shifted logistics dramatically. The motivation of our team and the community, however, overcame every obstacle. Our students learned more than architecture, and in the end, this knowledge not only will make everyone better architects but also stronger members of our communities.”

Proyecto Volcadero was a funded project aiming to move knowledge of best practices that are well established in the northern hemisphere to schools of architecture in less privileged places. It used EDIT methodology developed by Zingoni in 2007 that involves engaging and designing with users, igniting change and transforming a community. Throughout much of 2021-2022, the Proyecto Volcadero project empowered the Volcadero, Venezuela, community and students and professors from Venezuelan and American universities to collaboratively design and build a community space for recreation and commerce.

Proyecto Volcadero positioned the public good as the primary objective of design by engaging more than 60 local community members and 80 architecture and civil engineering students in the U.S.A. and Venezuela. In late 2022, the project was recognized with the 2022 Phil Freelon Professional Design Honor Award from the National Organization of Minority Architects.

“This project is the full circle of design to build community, literally building as one team with a shared goal,” said Zingoni. “The ACSA award demonstrates that academia recognizes the need for civic engagement in our profession and the ethical responsibility we hold as designers and educators to amplify the voices of others to serve the public good. Developing empathy and global competency is the first step.”

Read more about Proyecto Volcadero.


Shelton, Stuth, Adkisson, Rosenthal Recognized for Excellence in Housing Design Education

The exceptional education provided by four members of our School of Architecture, two in Knoxville and two in Nashville, was recognized with the 2023 AIA/ACSA Housing Design Education Award. This award “recognizes the importance of good education in housing design to produce architects ready for practice in a wide range of areas and able to be capable leaders and contributors to their communities,” according to ACSA.

design of a city block

In spring 2021, School of Architecture’s Professor Ted Shelton and Professor Tricia Stuth led a studio entitled, “Housing America.” The studio, which was supported by Nashville-based adjunct assistant professors Clay Adkisson and Will Rosenthal, challenged Master of Architecture students to consider how housing sits at the crux of numerous economic, political and environmental concerns surrounding social justice in the U.S. This was the first in a series of “Housing America” graduate studios led by Shelton and Stuth, which is in its third iteration in spring 2023.

Rather than focus only on technical, performative and constructive aspects of architecture, students also examined social, historical and ethical issues as a complete integration of the architectural act. Students considered architecture’s culpability for and response to social injustice.

Specifically, students studied documentary films and readings in social science and political science. They met with elected officials, developers, a neighborhood association and public housing residents. They immersed in the history of housing in America and the impact of zoning and policies.

“The course illuminated many concerns that surround housing in the U.S.,” Shelton said. “We brought critical and complex issues into the professional architectural curriculum. When students have revelatory experiences, they become better prepared professionals who can make change in our communities, change that can impact generations and cities.”

The study dealt with densifying the area around Love Towers, a supportive housing facility in Knoxville. With a determination to consider social impact of architecture, Adkisson and Rosenthal, who also are architects and managing partners at OPENWORKS Design + Development in Nashville, helped students understand the economics and priorities of affordable and workforce housing.


Hackett Noted for Creative Achievement

Curry Hackett, a lecturer in the School of Architecture in 2021-2022, was recognized with a 2023 ACSA Creative Achievement Award. This award honors “a specific creative achievement in teaching, design, scholarship, research or service that advances architectural education,” according to ACSA.

Hackett was one of three winners in this category for his studio entitled, Subjective Waters. The studio “studied Black relationships with water to interrogate its role in shaping power, place and cultural production in the built realm,” according to the ACSA.


The ACSA Architectural Education Awards “honor architectural educators for exemplary work in areas such as building design, community collaborations, scholarship, and service. Award winners inspire and challenge students, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base, and extend their work beyond the borders of academia into practice and the public sector,” according to the ACSA website.