January 20, 2017 Akerman, French Receive National Design Award


Two professors of architecture in the College of Architecture and Design earned a national design award for their work leading students and collaborating with community members to develop an education center for Knoxville.

Jennifer Akerman and Bob French were named recipients of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s Collaborative Practice Award for the Beardsley Farm Education Center, a project of the college’s nationally ranked design/build program.

The Beardsley Farm Education Center was designed and largely built by students in Akerman and French’s studios. More than 50 students from across the college collaborated with peers, professionals and farm officials from conception to construction to create a public space that benefits the community. Throughout the design/build process, they contributed coursework and service, designing and building a center that advances Beardsley Community Farm’s mission of engaging the community through education, service and public outreach. The education center, completed in early 2016, provides a classroom, office spaces and restrooms for local residents, volunteers and farm staff.

“Transformative experiences such as this prepare students to serve the community as innovative design professionals,” Akerman said.

The Collaborative Practice Award honors the best practices in school-based community outreach programs that demonstrate how faculty, students and community clients work to realize common objectives. In 2013, T.K. Davis received the award for transit-oriented development, and in 2009, Ted Shelton was recognized for designing for Tennessee’s state parks.

View the Beardsley Farm Education Center’s ACSA award entry.

In fall 2016, the Education Center also received the 2016 Honor Award, People’s Choice Award and Member’s Choice Award from the American Institute of Architects East Tennessee. It also was cited when the college’s design/build program was named in the Top 7 in the country by Study Architecture, a program of ACSA.

The project was a collaboration of the College of Architecture and Design, the City of Knoxville, the Public Building Authority, Elizabeth Eason Architects and Merit Construction. It was supported by General Shale, AIAETN, Paulk and Co., Stonepeak Tile, Keene Building Products, Columbia Forest Products, Baird and Wilson and many others.

For more than 40 years, the UT College of Architecture and Design’s design/build program has offered experience-learning opportunities to prepare students for careers in design. Through exploration, collaboration and mission-driven innovation, it applies design excellence, environmental performance and social responsibility to many challenges in the built environment to positively impact society. Learn more about the award-winning program.

[Photo credit: Bruce Cole]

Beardsley Farm Ed Center

Beardsley Farm