September 18, 2019 UT Exhibits Darden Prints, Hosts Panel Discussion to Reflect Darden’s Philosophy

Image from Douglas Darden's Condemned Building

October 1: Exhibition, Gallery 103  |  October 7: Panel Discussion, Student Union Auditorium.

The works and philosophy of Douglas Darden (1951-1996), an architect, writer, artist and designer possibly best known for his seminal book, Condemned Building: An Architect’s Pre-Text, will be exhibited and discussed at the University of Tennessee in October.


On Oct. 1, an exhibition of 11 limited edition and signed prints from Darden’s Condemned Building will open in Gallery 103, College of Architecture and Design, Art + Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Boulevard. The prints were created by the printmaking studio of Osama Nakasuji, Osaka, Japan, and donated to the College of Architecture and Design in 2018 by the estate of Douglas Darden. Darden’s design work also resides in esteemed venues that include New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University’s Avery Collection.

The UT exhibition, which runs through Oct. 25, 2019, is free and open to the public.

Panel Discussion

On Oct. 7 at 2-4 p.m., the College of Architecture and Design will host a panel discussion, This Will Kill That: The Role of Narrative in the Creative Process, in the UT Student Union auditorium, 1502 Cumberland Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

The panel discussion is an opportunity for students and faculty from diverse fields of study as well as professional designers, writers, artists and others in the community to hear from experts about how the creative artist engages narrative as a literary and visual and spatial device.

“The transformative power of literature can inspire architecture and expand upon traditional practices of imagining and representing space,” said Brian Ambroziak, associate professor, UT School of Architecture, and co-organizer of the exhibition and panel discussion. “Darden’s writing and drawings have had a profound effect on the design discipline. He often stated his belief that literature could go beyond inspiring design to actually informing it.”

Influenced by classical literature as well as works by surrealists, Darden produced a distinct process that he called the “dis/continuous genealogy,” which challenges designers to ponder architecture’s ability to transcend the physical realm and reside first on paper.

“Darden believed designers could write with drawings,” Ambroziak said. “We have a unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary conversation about the role of drawing and digital representation and how they are influenced by narrative.”

The panel discussion on Oct. 7 will delve into these topics, particularly how designers can and should use narrative to influence their work. It will be led by a diverse range of experts:

  • Amy Elias, Lindsay Young Professor, UT Department of English, Director of the UT Humanities Center
  • Ben Ledbetter, Architect, Professor, and Darden’s associate
  • Beauvais Lyons, Chancellor’s Professor, UT School of Art
  • Jason Young, Director, Professor, UT School of Architecture
  • Greg Snyder, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Programs, UNC Charlotte School of Architecture


  • Brian Ambroziak, Associate Professor, Chair of Undergraduate Studies, UT School of Architecture
  • Andrew McLellan, Lecturer, Designer, Writer

The panel discussion is funded by a grant from the Exhibit, Performance, and Publication Expense Grant, the UT College of Architecture and Design and the University of Tennessee. A publication associated with the discussion will follow.