UT Earns National Honors for Community Outreach Program, New Norris House

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A Nashville-based community outreach program and the design and construction of the New Norris House have garnered national recognition for UT architecture faculty.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), an organization that annually honors architectural educators for exemplary work, has honored UT for having best practices in school-based community outreach programs and design-build projects.

UT Associate Professor Thomas K. Davis’s community outreach program, Collaborations in Transit-Oriented Development, received a Collaborative Practice Award. The honor recognizes programs that demonstrate how faculty, students, and community/civic clients work together to achieve common objectives.

Davis’s work is helping to produce a walkable, pedestrian-friendly Nashville, where the design of high-quality public spaces is emphasized. He worked with the Nashville Civic Design Center, a nonprofit organization that addresses the city’s urban design challenges; the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization; and the MBA Real Estate Program at Vanderbilt University.

“Together these interdisciplinary teams explored the financial feasibility of transit-related development, based on significant stakeholder input,” Davis said.

Transit-oriented development, according to Davis, enhances the quality of life for residents, improves public health by encouraging walking, fosters economic development, and contributes to community character through the design of public space.

The New Norris House, a sustainable home developed by students in conjunction with architecture faculty members Tricia Stuth, Robert French, Samuel Mortimer, and Richard Kelso, received the Design Build Award. The honor recognized faculty for connecting curriculum with practical projects that address cultural, economic, social, or environmental sustainability.

The New Norris House is a learning project that has taken its student participants through the phases of design, construction, and evaluation. The home has earned LEED-platinum certification from the US Green Building Council, which makes it one of the most “green” homes in the state. The project has addressed energy and environmental design, water treatment, sustainable material use, community engagement, and issues in policy since its beginnings in 2009.

“Both awards reflect the UT College of Architecture and Design’s commitment to multidisciplinary learning and projects that improve people’s lives,” said Scott Poole, dean of the college.

“Innovation in practical fields of knowledge remains a vital aspect of our mission as a land-grant university,” he said. “Our teaching and applied research are having direct and lasting impact on the people and places, culture and community, environmental health, and economic vitality in the state of Tennessee and beyond.

“We are proud that our college’s focus on experiential learning, city building, and environmental stewardship is being recognized at a national level through these prestigious awards in architectural education.”

The ACSA represents more than 250 schools, where more than 5,000 architecture faculty are employed.

To learn more about the research and design of UT architecture faculty, visit the College of Architecture and Design website.

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C O N T A C T S:

Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713, kroeder@utk.edu)

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lalapo@utk.edu)

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