University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Facilities Services Complex

Knoxville, Tennessee

The UT Knoxville Facilities Services Complex is an adaptive reuse of a former industrial facility that houses offices, warehouses, workshops, and fleet parking for the UT Facilities Services Department.
The structure was the site of Southeast Precast Corporation from 1966 to 2012; prior to this it was home to the Empire Marble Company and the Gray Knox Marble Company. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMch2mCITATIONAdaptive Reuse CitationFEATURED IN2017 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYAdaptive Reuse original structure was constructed in 1908 for the Empire Marble Company as a cutting and finishing facility. It was then enlarged by the Gray Knox Marble Company in 1920.
By the middle of the 20th century, the complex was a combination of old and new buildings. Some of the original frame Empire Marble buildings remained alongside the outward, decidedly more modern, enlarged plant building. Preserving the building’s volume and recalling its industrial character were critical.
The central hall’s original 46-foot ceiling height remains. Overhead cranes were preserved as decommissioned artifacts and elements such as the original steel structure, clerestory windows, concrete floors, and wooden decking were refurbished, recreated, or salvaged and repurposed in other areas of the building.
Two water towers that were used as part of the marble cutting and fabrication process were preserved. The towers have been painted Smokey Gray with UT Orange accents. Some of the original mechanical equipment and generators were reinstalled as decommissioned artifacts, and sculptures in the gardens added to the building’s east and south sides.
The complex features a large computer training lab, an employee break area, glass-front offices and meeting rooms, a central supply warehouse, two large conference rooms with a retractable divider, and department workshops. The building’s open office concept features half cubicles and helps to encourage collaboration among employees in different department units.
The computer lab’s audiovisual equipment can be easily converted into an emergency operations center and will have visibility into a planned dispatch center.