Annual Knoxville By Design Offers Glimpses into Architectural Creativity

Cathedral Image, Artists: Brian Pittman and Jason Amos Oaks, Media: Wood/Acrylic/Oil/Pencil/Gold Leaf
Cathedral Image, Artists: Brian Pittman and Jason Amos Oaks, Media: Wood/Acrylic/Oil/Pencil/Gold Leaf

April showers might bring May flowers, but in Knoxville the month of April also brings Knoxville by Design (KBD). If you haven’t experienced KBD yet, you will not want to miss out. It is a month full of activities and events that promote the importance of architecture and the power of design. The month-long series of events is part of National Architecture Week, and the East Tennessee chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is responsible for organizing KBD each year. They are the gracious hosts of all the community wide events.

“Events and activities will be hosted at various locations throughout Knoxville, and will offer both learning and entertaining experiences for all ages,” said Richard Foster, KBD Chair and Past-President of AIA’s East Tennessee chapter. “Included in our event listing are a pop-up gallery featuring original works of art created by East Tennesseans, a tour of local mid-century modern homes, and a live competition of architectural ability.”

Two of the events that you will definitely not want to miss this year are the KBD Pop-up Art Salon and Modernism Home Tour. If Art is your thing, then you are encouraged to join KBD and Knox Heritage for the First Friday pop-up gallery celebrating the vast range of original works of art created by architects and related professionals in East Tennessee. Don’t miss out on this one-night only event. Light snacks and drinks will be provided. The event takes place Friday, April 5 from 5:30p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Free Service Tire (300 W. Jackson Ave.). This event is free to public.

True Transcendence, Artist: Bill Cook Jr., Media: White Marble from Sylacauga, AL.

If you are a fan of modernist homes, then the Modernism Home Tour is a must do. Join KBD and Mid Mod Collective on Saturday April 6 for a rare opportunity to see inside a unique collection of Knoxville Midcentury and Modern Homes. This year features a modern home nestled on a hill top overlooking the mountains, another taking advantage of panoramic views to their surrounding forest, as well as historic and newly constructed Mid-Century residences in Holston Hills and Sequoyah Hills. Online tickets for this event are $20, and day-of tickets are $25. Check-in for this event will be at Mid Mod Collective from 9:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Houses will be open at 10 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

Other noteworthy events include a symposium with the Knoxville Mayoral Candidates, a lecture from Sir David Adjaye – one of TIME’s 100 most influential people, a trivia night, a kid-friendly workshop, a series of seminars from the local “makers,” and a Design Awards Gala that will unveil the winners of the Online People’s Choice Vote.

Along with these events, KBD will be hosting an Instagram contest showcasing the architecture around Knoxville, from the point of view of both architectural professionals and civilians. It’s important to note that some events require online registration, which can be done through the KBD website.

Hipsterpotamus, Artist: Jacene Phillips, Media: Ceramic

“[Knoxville] by Design is a chance for everyone in the Knoxville community to explore the architecture in our own backyard,” said Foster. “It is a chance to hear from experts and amateurs alike on how to preserve, honor and appreciate the architecture that makes Knoxville beautiful.”

For more information about KBD, please visit