University of Tennessee – Joint Institute for Advanced Materials

Building Area: 142,634 s.f.

Date of Completion: Fall 2016

Type: New Construction

Location: Knoxville, TN

Budget: $43,000,000

Challenge: Design the first advanced research facility located on a new technology campus for the University of Tennessee.

Solution: As the first facility built on a new research campus, the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials sets the architectural tone for future structures. The University of Tennessee, in partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, sought a building to outwardly reflect the mission of cutting edge scientific progress while establishing a contrast against the traditional red brick and limestone vernacular of the main UT campus located a few miles away. Additionally, a prominent historic residential neighborhood lies across the river from this new campus; to mitigate visual impact all buildings are master-planned to be oriented in a rectilinear fashion with the short end facing the neighborhood. Careful consideration of building materiality and color was investigated to convey the nature of a “high-tech” research campus while at the same time developing a palette that blends into the agrarian nature of the site.

The building program consists of office, research, seminar, and laboratories all dedicated to sophisticated research that allows construction and synthesis of materials on the minute scale of the nanometer. The articulation of that research program is conveyed on the building exterior by utilizing various material selections of brick, zinc, copper, glass, and aluminum composed into patterns which diagram functions within. Offices are arranged along the building perimeter to take advantage of natural light and views. Laboratories which need a highly controlled environment make up the central spine & building core. Collaborative spaces are positioned throughout the building in prominent locations overlooking the Tennessee River to encourage the cross pollination of ideas from researchers working in different fields. A central atrium acts as the primary vertical circulation space and functions as the main building entry.

Joint venture with Bullock-Smith & Partners.