2019 AIA Tennessee design award recipients announced

AIA Tennessee announced the winners of this year’s Design Awards at the AIA Tennessee Conference on Architecture held in Knoxville, Tennessee. 111 projects were submitted, and 5 of the 16 winning projects were archimania projects! 

Nash Tiny House in Starkville, MS won an Award of Excellence

Vandeven Condo in Memphis, TN won an Award of Excellence

OrthoSouth in Bartlett, TN won a Merit Award

Visible Music College - Student Studios in Memphis, TN won a Merit Award

Girls Inc. of Memphis - South Park + LDT centers in Memphis, TN won a Merit Award


(Knoxville, TN) – The Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Tennessee) celebrated the 2019 Design Awards in Knoxville during AIA Tennessee’s Conference on Architecture.  To salute excellence in architecture, AIA Tennessee conducts an annual Design Awards program.  This program honors built works of distinction designed by AIA Tennessee members, and brings to public attention their outstanding architectural accomplishments.

Katherine Ambroziak, AIA (Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, College of Architecture and Design, University of Tennessee Knoxville) chaired the 2019 program. Allan Kehrt, FAIA (Founding Partner, KSS Architects) was the jury chair and assembled an outstanding group of design professionals to review the entries. Jury members were Patrick Burke, AIA (Principal, Michael Graves Architecture & Design), Michael Farewell, FAIA (Partner, Farewell Architects) Merilee Meacock, AIA (Partner, KSS Architects) and Daniel Rew, AIA (Design Director, HDR).

The sixteen projects were unanimously chosen from a field of 111 submittals, all of which received thoughtful consideration.  The jurors noted the diverse range of work and elegant solutions to challenges presented.  The jury comments for archimania’s awarded projects are shown below:

Merit Awards

Girls Inc. of Memphis – archimania (Memphis)

The jury loved seeing the mission of the non-profit expressed through the design. Girls, Inc. strives to make an impact in economically depressed neighborhoods by inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. On a very limited budget and with minimal interventions, the design makes a great impression on the local community. The large porches and internal thresholds are especially inviting, and the branding and bold graphics provide inspiration to the youth.

Visible Music College – archimania (Memphis)

Student Studios finds opportunity to create a quality dormitory experience in a tight ally space between two buildings. With minimal means and restricted square footages, the designers achieve quite a bit through simple interjections – Juliet balconies and a “proscenium”-like interface with the parking that can serve as a true outdoor stage when the cars are cleared. The building has nice composition and a clean sequence of public spaces. The jury described it as a “jewel” in the rough of the urban campus.

OrthoSouth – archimania (Memphis)

Designers of this small scale clinic pushed its minimal material pallet to generate quite a rich experience. Though seemingly heavy on the outside, anchoring the site of this industrial zoned subdivision, the interior is softened by natural daylighting made possible by large entry apertures and a strategically located inner courtyard. The jury complemented the elegant solution and appreciated the use of biophilic design principles geared toward user-experience and well-being

Award of Excellence

Nash Tiny House – archimania (Memphis)
The Starkville retreat house is a simple design that conveys a multi-layered storyline – it was conceptualized as a gathering porch, is reminiscent of a previous fishing trailer on site, and carries the love of its occupant’s own construction. The project sits as a piece of modern vernacular, with its quirky offset gable and carved porch. Sheathed in a two-toned metal skin, the painted and natural wood interior conveys the warmth and light of its wooded setting. The careful, minimal design is playful, yet demonstrates a true economy of means worthy of recognition.

Vandeven Condo – archimania (Memphis)
This old bank has seen a lot of different uses in its time and has now been adapted as an AirBnB with retail. With the different characteristics of each floor plate, it would have been easy to subdivide it into different tenant spaces, but the owner and architect avoided this temptation and created a great experience for its users. The resulting architecture shows restraint and appreciation for the original façade and bones of the building. There is minimal intervention, with new walls reading almost furniture-like. The restoration work and new millwork are both finely executed. The jury applauds the ambition to champion the downtown area and to make this abandoned building relevant for contemporary use.

You can visit AIA Tennessee’s website to view a list of all of the award winners.