July 15, 2020 Predictably Unpredictable: Goss Gives Historic $1M Legacy Gift

Buzz Goss stands at the helm of a sailboat

By Brooks Clark

UT gave Buzz Goss (B.Arch ’87) a “way of thinking” that makes solutions out of problems.

When Buzz Goss was 12, his parents gave him carpenter’s tools, including power saws. “You might not give all that to a kid today,” he says, sitting at a picnic table in the courtyard of the Merchants of Beer in Knoxville’s Old City. “But they did. I cut plywood and made my own furniture. I made a chair, shelves, a table, even though I didn’t know anything about dovetails and joinery.”

From his earliest years Goss had in his mind that he was going to be an architect, and his parents may have known it. “I had Legos and Lincoln Logs,” he says, “but the logs were going to look like a log cabin, and the Legos ended up looking like a block building. The things you made with them were predictable.”

Since Goss graduated from UT’s College of Architecture and Design in 1987, his career has been spent renovating downtown Knoxville properties like the Sterchi Lofts, Burwell Building (the front end of the Tennessee Theatre), Jackson Ateliers, and most of the facades on Market Square, creating innovative living spaces like the 248-unit Marble Alley Lofts, and pioneering urban living in Knoxville.

But never being predictable.

Goss started his real estate career as a student in 1986 in North Knoxville, and from there, he navigated urban development, economic downturns and the powerful Gulf Stream waters, which almost swallowed this successful, engaging alumnus.

In 2020, Goss made a $1M legacy gift to the college, the first one-million-dollar gift in the history of the college.

“UT Architecture taught me how to be an architect, but it also taught me something else, what I like to call ‘a way of thinking’,” Goss said. “It’s a way of seeing any new challenge as a set of issues—some are problems—but you look at them in a creative way and blend them into a solution.”

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