September 2, 2016 Shelton, Stuth Named Affiliated Fellows, Design Medalists


Ted Shelton, FAIA, and Tricia Stuth, AIA, associate professors of Architecture, continued their impressive body of work in the investigation of historical preservation and design by serving in two honored roles over the summer months. Shelton and Stuth conducted research as Affiliated Fellows of the American Academy in Rome then served as the 2016 Virginia Design Medalists, both experiences allowing them to explore their ideas of the “unseen site.”

“We have long held that the histories, ideas and cultural practices of a place must be merged with one’s understanding of the physical site to create an augmented landscape in which architecture is practiced,” said Shelton. “We call this hybrid space of design the unseen site.”

“We believe preservation theory not only occurs after design but also influences the design of artifacts that actively shape heritage,” Stuth said.

In Rome, Shelton and Stuth, a husband-and-wife team who joined the UT College of Architecture and Design in 2004, examined the Testaccio district’s ancient origins and long history as a marginal district as well as its recent incarnation as an emergent and desirable district. The couple created “Seven Provocations,” speculative designs where the relationship between preservation and design is one of conspiracy rather than opposition. The Affiliated Fellowship was established in 2010 and enables a UT faculty member to spend six weeks in residence at the American Academy to pursue research in arts and humanities.

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The couple also were chosen to serve as Virginia Design Medalists, an honor initiated by Hanbury, a design firm with offices in four states that pursues planning, architecture and interior design across the U.S. and abroad. The Design Medalist program was established to “nurture and stimulate design talent by recognizing distinguished members of architecture, planning and design academia and inviting them to engage with [its] staff for several weeks,” states the Hanbury website.

Shelton and Stuth served as critics of the firm’s work and presented lectures that initiated discussions on practice specifically as it relates to the planning, design and stewardship of the contemporary academic campus.

“We lectured and exhibited our findings from Rome and further informed those findings through critical engagement with exceptional practitioners,” Shelton said.

“The experiences in Rome and Virginia are influencing the educational experiences of our students this semester in Knoxville in our work with Lenoir City, UT’s 2016 Smart Communities Initiative partner,” Stuth said. “Through this program, our students are developing design proposals to cultivate stewardship and the next evolution of the city’s downtown.”

Shelton and Stuth are the first collaborative team to be named Virginia Design Medalists in the 13-year history of the program.

Photo credit:  Hanbury