February 19, 2024 Interior Architecture’s Teahouse Dedicated to Knoxville Asian Festival

This fall’s 11th annual Knoxville Asian Festival will showcase a portable teahouse created by students in the School of Interior Architecture. The studio, held last fall, blended regional Appalachian design and materials with the traditions and patterns of Japanese tea ceremonies. 

“We have a wonderful tea instructor who’s been guiding us,” said Professor David Matthews, who led the studio. “We’ve also blended it with materials from East Tennessee, we’ve used hardwoods like poplar and walnut. The students did studies at the Museum of Appalachia that are patterns repeated in the roof structure of the building.” 

In honor of the space and as a formal gift to the festival, the school hosted a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Ceremonies during the Knoxville Asian Festival will be led by instructors with over 20 years of experience studying in Japan. 

Kumi Alderman, executive director of the Knoxville Asian Festival, presented Matthews and each student from the studio with a certificate of appreciation. 

The studio received support from the Angelo Donghia Foundation, which has backed the school for three years, and aided projects being donated to the community. 

Media coverage of the event: WBIR, Knox News.