November 2, 2016 Design/Build Program’s Beardsley Farm Education Center Earns Regional Awards


The College of Architecture and Design—and the work of more than 50 students—were recently recognized by the American Institute of Architects East Tennessee through the 2016 Honor Award for the Beardsley Farm Education Center. The education center, a project of the college’s design/build program, also earned the 2016 People’s Choice Award and the 2016 Member’s Choice award, decided by popular vote.

For 18 years, the Beardsley Community Farm has practiced sustainable urban agriculture and worked to improve food security in Knoxville. The farm’s newest addition, the Beardsley Farm Education Center, was designed and largely built by students led by Jennifer Akerman and Bob French. Completed in early 2016, the education center provides a classroom, office spaces and restrooms for local residents, volunteers and farm staff.

“We are thrilled that our students have been recognized by AIA for their work on this project,” said Akerman. “From conception to construction, they collaborated with peers, professionals, and farm officials to create a public space that benefits the community. Transformative experiences such as this prepare students to serve the community as innovative design professionals.”

Students from across the college contributed through coursework and service, designing and building a center that advances the farm’s mission of engaging the community through education, service and public outreach.

The AIA jury, comprised of six practicing architects from across the country, noted the significant student involvement, adding that their designs facilitate community involvement and address critical social issues.

Jennifer Akerman (left) and some of the students who designed and built the Beardsley Farm Education Center join Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero (center) at the education center’s ribbon cutting in May 2016.

For 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. Recently the program was named a Top 7 Program by Study Architecture, a program of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Learn more about the award-winning program.

The AIAET Design Awards Program salutes excellence in architecture and seeks to honor built and unbuilt works of distinction designed by AIA members in East Tennessee. For details about the AIAET, visit National AIA is considered the foremost professional architecture association in the nation, with nearly 300 state and local chapters.





Beardsley Farm Education Center

[showcase id=”9691″]

Photo credit:  Bruce Cole Photography