Joint Institute for Advanced Materials

At the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm, BarberMcMurry designed the first advanced research facility, the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. The building is the result of a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

Its design sets the architectural tone for other structure on the research campus. The exterior reflects the building's mission of cutting-edge scientific progress while respecting a prominent historic neighborhood that lies across the river. BMA carefully considered building materials and colors, as well as the the orientation of the buildings so that the short end faces the neighborhood. This, and a color palette that blends with the agrarian nature of the sight, lessens the visual impact of Joint Institute — yet distinctive materials, including brick, zinc, copper, glass and aluminum — lend a distinctive and beautiful aesthetic.

Accents of UT orange are carried throughout the space, especially in common areas, serving as focal points against the simple, raw interior finishes. Common spaces are intended for collaboration, with mobile whiteboards, whiteboard walls, and even writable tables.

The building program consists of office, research, seminar, and laboratory spaces, all dedicated to sophisticated research that allows construction and synthesis of materials on the minute scale of the nanometer. 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 and building core. Collaborative spaces are positioned throughout the building in prominent locations overlooking the Tennessee River to encourage collaboration among researchers from 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.

    Completion Date: 2016

    Type: New Construction

    Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

    Building Area: 142,634 SF

    Services: Architecture, Interior Design

    Use: Education


    • LEED: Silver
    • 2017 AIA East Tennessee Honor Award
    • 2017 Keep Knoxville Beautiful Orchid Award for Environmental Stewardship

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