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Avigail Sachs

Associate Professor

School of Architecture

Avigail Sachs teaches the history and theory of architecture and landscape and studies the design professions in the United States. Her most recent book The Garden in the Machine: Planning and Democracy in the Tennessee Valley Authorityexamines the transformation of utopian ideals into practice in the first two decades of the TVA’s operation. Her first book, Environmental Design: Architecture, Politics and Science in Postwar America, was recognized with an Award of Excellence by the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH) in 2019. She is currently working on two projects. The first, a collaborative project with Micah Rutenberg, is titled The Mechanized Landscape and charts the impact of the TVA’s statecraft on the  Tennessee Valley. This project combines maps and photographs to provide a visual study of the region. A second project examines one of the TVA lakes – the Norris Reservoir – and its development as a “Landscape of Leisure.” Sachs earned a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, a M.S. from MIT and a B.Arch from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. She practiced as an architect and taught design studio for five years before training as an historian.


  • Ph.D. in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
  • M.Sc. in Architecture Studies, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1997
  • B.Arch. Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 1995

Professional Associations & Certifications

  • Society of Architectural Historians

Courses Taught

  • ARC 212: History and Theory of Architecture IIGlobal survey of architecture and urbanism since 1750
  • ARC 425/525: The Tennessee Valley AuthoritySeminar on the history of the TVA architecture and design
  • LAR 581: Landscape Architecture: Histories and Theories IGlobal survey of landscape architecture and environmental design from Antiquity to the late 1800s
  • LAR 584: Landscape Architecture: Histories and Theories IISeminar on landscape planning and design in the 20th century
  • ARC 501: Introduction to the Built EnvironmentSeminar on central ideas and knowledge in architectural discourse

Expertise & Interests

  • History and Theory of Architectural Practice and Education
  • History of Modern Architecture
  • Architecture and Landscape Architecture in a Global Perspective

Honors & Awards

  • James Johnson Dudley Faculty Scholar, 2015-2017College of Architecture and Design, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee Humanities Center Fellow, 2014-2015