December 5, 2014 Exploring Energy and Urbanism from the Region to the Building

On November 24, 2014, Philip Enquist, SOM Partner in Charge of Urban Design and Planning, and Keith Boswell, SOM Technical Partner, participated in the final review for the Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism Studio. The studio, offered at The University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK)’s College of Architecture and Design, was co-taught by Boswell and university faculty James Rose in collaboration with researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The studio examined the east tower of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) headquarters located in downtown Knoxville. Four teams of graduate and undergraduate architecture students designed solutions to re-skin the aging building, increase energy performance, and integrate the tower’s plaza with the surrounding public spaces. Through a sequence of collaborative charrettes over the course of the fall semester, the studio progressed from research at the regional scale to design strategies for the building envelope.

Also participating in the final review were Bill Threlkeld, Manager of Facilities Asset Management at TVA, George Johnston, Professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech, Kyounghee Kim, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Jennifer Akerman, Assistant Professor of Architecture at UTK, and Bill Miller, Research Engineer at ORNL and Lecturer at UTK.

The solutions presented by students at the final review evolved from earlier work, reviewed in midterm critique that took place in October. Enquist and Boswell were joined by Threlkeld and Miller.

The Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism is a five-year joint appointment to The University of Tennessee Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory dedicated to carbon-neutral and resilient cities. The partnership integrates SOM, UTK and ORNL’s strengths in regional planning, architecture, engineering, and the building sciences. Through the Governor’s Chair, SOM staff is instructing a design studio each semester and participating in applied research projects.

Originally published by SOM on 4 Dec. 14 at

Images courtesy of the University of Tennessee and Jeff Goldberg of Esto