March 27, 2020 Architecture Students Propose Innovation Headquarters

student pointing to screen during presentation

Fourth-year Architecture students in Adjunct Assistant Professor James Rose’s Integration studio have partnered with Local Motors to propose concepts for a design and innovation center for the company’s Knoxville microfactory.

Founded in 2007, Local Motors is a ground-mobility company that specializes in cutting-edge manufacturing technology such as 3D printing. The collaboration efforts of Rose and Johnny Scotello, Production Manager of Local Motors, have presented our students with a unique opportunity to propose designs for an “innovation center” located adjacent to the existing microfactory.

According to Rose, “This design center would function as the headquarters for all production design and research for Local Motors and would contain studios, prototyping shops, public displays and a digital media data visualization suite incorporating augmented reality.”

Students are developing aspects of the building to showcase large-scale additive manufacturing. This opportunity not only allows students to demonstrate their design abilities, but it also teaches them how to work with clients and provides insight into the architectural applications of 3D printing.

This was 4th-year Architecture student Allie Ward’s first experience working with local clients. “This is a really encouraging experience because we are receiving honest feedback from a client who envisions this innovation center as a work space that shows the company’s innovative abilities,” explained Ward. “By working closely with Local Motors, we get to hear and see what they value as opposed to assuming.”

The innovative advanced manufacturing of Local Motors is what captured the attention of Watts Brown, a 4th-year Architecture student. “Though the university and Fab Lab had previously exposed me to 3D printing, I had never seen it applied on such a large scale,” said Brown. “Since 3D printing is a new technology that is constantly changing and modernizing, I am excited to see how Local Motors uses it in the decades to come.”

Students also have had the opportunity to tour the Local Motors facility in Knoxville, see firsthand the innovation and technology and meet with designers and engineers. During one visit, students presented their foregrounding work to Scotello and Billy Hughes, Director of Advanced Additive Manufacturing. Following their tour, Scotello visited the studio in the college to discuss design concepts and participate in reviews.

At the end of the semester, students working in teams of two will present seven design proposals to Local Motors.

Learn more!

James Rose’s award-winning micro-housing studio in spring 2019

School of Architecture