University of Tennessee, Knoxville Facilities Services Complex

Knoxville, Tennessee

The UT Knoxville Facilities Services Complex is a 91,000-square-foot adaptive reuse of a former industrial facility. It 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. The original structure was built in 1908 for the Empire Marble ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMch2mCOST PER SQ FT$206.00CITATIONCollegiate CitationFEATURED IN2018 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYHistoric Preservation as a cutting and finishing facility. It was 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 during the project.

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, re-created, 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 that were added to the building’s east and south sides.

The complex has a large computer training lab, employee break area, glass-front offices and meeting rooms, a supply warehouse, two large conference rooms with a retractable divider, and department workshops.

The building’s open office concept has half cubicles and encourages collaboration between employees in different departments. The computer lab’s audio/visual equipment can be converted into an emergency operations center and has visibility into the planned dispatch center.