View Full Directory

Jennifer Akerman

Assistant Professor

School of Architecture

Jennifer Akerman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee’s College of Architecture and Design where she teaches architectural design studio and support classes exploring issues of materiality, construction, and special topics of professional practice. Her research studios have explored issues of urban agriculture as a study of buildings as ecosystems. She is a licensed architect with a professional focus on exploring relationships between culture and materiality. With Adan Akerman, she leads the Knoxville-based industrial design practice Akerworks, inc., committed to developing innovative modern objects as an exploration of the relationship between design, material, and craft.


  • Master of Architecture, Princeton University, Princeton NJ, 2002
  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA, 1998


  • Registered Architect: New Jersey and Tennessee
  • Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • LEED Accredited Professional
  • NCARB Certified


Jennifer Akerman is Design Director at Akerworks, inc, in Knoxville Tennessee. Akerworks is an industrial design firm specializing in modern, mechanically inventive objects and instruments that elicit unexpected delight through play. This practice explores questions of craft through a balance of traditional and emerging techniques, including localized digital fabrication. We have prototyped dozens of products, developed several to a retail level, and provided design consulting and fabrication services.

Jennifer also holds architectural experience from working at Hillier Architecture in Princeton, New Jersey, Perry Dean Rogers + Partners in Boston, and Cockrill Design + Planning in Knoxville TN.

Courses Taught

  • ARCH 499-599: Diploma Thematic Studio
  • ARCH 541: Design II Principles
  • ARCH 509: Seminar in Design Integration
  • ARCH 455-555: Digital Artifacts (Special Topics in Digital Fabrication)
  • ARCH 425-525: Critical Practice (Special Topics in Architecture)

Expertise & Interests

  • Urban agriculture
  • Design-build
  • Innovative critical practice
  • Digital fabrication

Honors & Awards

  • Collaborative Practice Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), 2017. This national education award given to Jennifer Akerman and Bob French honors teaching excellence demonstrated by the Beardsley Community Farm project.
  • Honor Award, AIA East Tennessee, 2016. This award honors design excellence demonstrated by the Beardsley Community Farm project, a team effort designed by UTK architecture students under Jennifer’s direction.
  • Honor Award, AIA East Tennessee, 2013. This award honors design excellence demonstrated by the Algood Elementary School, team effort designed by Cockrill Design + Planning.
  • American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum, 2008. This national award honors design excellence demonstrated by the Becton Dickinson Campus Center, team effort designed by Hiller Architecture


Title: Odd Fellows Cemetery Reclamation Project
Collaboration between: UTK faculty and students, Knoxville ReAnimation Coalition, and the City of Knoxville
Description: The Odd Fellows Cemetery Reclamation Project is an evolving, long-term research, design, and engagement initiative that addresses the potential for a deteriorating cultural landscape to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the social and spiritual lives of the communities of East Knoxville. The reclamation process was initiated in 2008 in collaboration with the Knoxville ReAnimation Coalition and the City of Knoxville.

Title: Old Briar
As principal and officer: Applied Research (with Brian Ambroziak, Ted Shelton, and Tricia Stuth)
Description: Old Briar is a house and landscape in rural west Tennessee. Located on an 80 acre working farm, the clients are conscious of being stewards of the land. The home they sought needed to communicate their ethics of sustainable agrarian practices, respect for the landscape as a resource supporting the region, and humility, deeply rooted in their upbringing. In this sense subdued, it also needed to provide invitation and welcome, engaging both the daily tasks of farming and domestic life and the special times of family and community celebration.

Title: Cardinal Points
As primary designer: with Brian Ambroziak and Jesse Van der Laan
Description: CARDINAL POINTS serves as a commentary on contemporary perception and physiological responses to historical places of memory. The installation was conceptualized as a spatial satire investigated through interpretive material processes focused on reproduction and authenticity. Motivated by the forgotten landscape of an abandoned local cemetery, the installation translates the formal, repetitive structure of the burial grounds as a spiritual typology that runs the risk of fading and ultimately being discarded. Comprised of nine repetitive white-on-white reproduced screen-prints and a single shrine artifact, the primary goal of the installation was to create, through a crafted simile, an authentic experience that is comparable to the original but distinctive for its new contemporary place location.

Title: T-House
As co-author: with Brian Ambroziak
Description: Located on the tip of Hains Point in Washington, D.C., the theoretical design project entitled T-HOUSE is an experience-based construct that juxtaposes two distinct landscapes and speaks to the memory of the 20th century teahouse that once existed there. The proposal encourages a critical dialogue between the natural and artificial processes inherent in the history of the site, from the engineering staged to control flooding to the highly articulated tea ceremony itself. At each scale, the medium of water – its forces, texture, tastes, thermal and evaporative properties, associative potential, and trace memory – plays a requisite role. Through critique of such qualities, T-HOUSE translates the archeological as well as environmental realities and fictions of place. It expands upon traditional architectural practice by finding root in some of the more primordial conditions of the human psyche, affecting the body through tactile means, responding to time and change in values, and offering an opportunity to transform reality.