STACKS [boxes + progressions]

West Jackson Avenue Knoxville, TN

Fourth Year Project

Fall 2015 | Professor Kevin Stevens

Collaborators: Amy St. John & Joseph Shedd



STACKS is a maker-space and an educational facility for middle and high school students. The program of this project focuses on allowing students to learn about design and craft through investigation and exploration. It is a grassroots reaction against one size fits all education by being learner driven rather than teacher driven. Students are taught how to operate the equipment, but projects are largely of their own investigation. STACKS includes wood-working, ceramics, metal, and textile spaces that facilitate hands-on learning through building, creating, and producing.

images above: early site studies of jackson avenue, oil pastel and pen on paper bag. overlayed onto site photographs.

The idea of reiteration was a central theme of this project. The design cycle is all about reiteration, which is a key learning concept for students at STACKS.

When we first visited the site on Jackson Avenue, we were struck by the layers of the street. It is constantly changing- the people, buildings, materials. Jackson Avenue is like a living collage where you can see the rich history documented in all of its layers. A street that is consistently reiterating itself.

We sought to design a facility that could change to meet different programmatic needs. We were inspired to incorporate rotating walls, doors, and operable facade elements into our design to allow for many different configurations of space. The idea of dynamic pieces on a building that's fixed is critical to our design proposal. Thus, creating a building form that is constantly reiterating itself; a building that could function as a usable armature for projects.