October 8, 2021 Students Design Outdoor Recreation Center for UT Research Park

Architecture students, led by Distinguished Lecturer James Rose, are embarking on a project that will benefit the Knoxville community–especially those who spend time on the Tennessee River–for years to come.

aerial image of Cherokee Farm

In early October 2021, Rose’s studio completed the first phase of a design/build project in support of a proposed outdoor recreation center for the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm. The project is being studied in partnership with the Tennessee RiverLine and Legacy Parks Foundation and might include a boathouse for kayaks, an amphitheatre, bicycling accommodations, gathering spaces and more.

Students’ first-phase designs were on display on Oct. 8, during the Legacy Luncheon for the Parks, an annual fundraising event for Legacy Parks Foundation this year held on the grounds of Cherokee Farm. At the event, students presented three different design directions for the recreation center project, and following the luncheon, the drawings and models were placed as a public exhibition in the atrium of the UT Tickle College of Engineering Joint Institute for Advanced Materials building on the campus of the research park.

As the fall 2021 semester proceeds, students, who are 4th year, 5th year and graduate levels, will develop all three schemes of the design/build project in more detail with support from capstone students in Tickle’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

students with designs at Cherokee Farm

Pending the fundraising efforts, one final design will be developed into construction documents through a professional partner. The majority of the project will be professionally constructed, with some aspects fabricated and installed by students.

Supported by principal partners, Tennessee Valley Authority and UT Knoxville, the Tennessee RiverLine is an initiative for a continuous paddle-hike-bike trail system along the full 652-mile length of the Tennessee River, from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Paducah, Kentucky. It was founded in the School of Landscape Architecture, a joint endeavor of the Herbert College of Agriculture and College of Architecture and Design. Today, the Tennessee RiverLine engages with numerous river communities, who benefit from economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities, quality of life amenities, equitable access to river experiences that improve public health and stewardship of natural resources.

Once completed, the outdoor recreation center located at Cherokee Farm will be part of the Tennessee RiverLine’s trail system as the structures benefit kayakers, canoeists and other boating enthusiasts as well as community members who will enjoy the new facility.

Orange icon for Cherokee Farm

UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm is a gateway for scientific and entrepreneurial collaboration and offers nearly a million square feet of development space in 12 building sites. The research park is a located on 150 acres on the banks of the Tennessee River near UT Knoxville. Aerial photos courtesy of UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm.


Here’s a quick look at the three first-phase proposals from students in James Rose’s studio.

rendering of building on slope

rendering of a building with open sides
rendering of building on a slope