Robert French, adjunct associate professor of architecture, is leading the College of Architecture and Design’s involvement in a multi-year effort involving research, design, master plan development, and potential design-build opportunities in the future. The effort brings together students from architecture and landscape architecture along with top design professionals from across the country to envision a 4-H camp and conference center featuring STEM and agricultural programs at Lone Oaks Farm, a stunning 1,200-acre property in West Tennessee.
Students, in collaboration with the UT Institute of Agriculture, are working with two nationally acclaimed design firms, El Dorado Architects, led by David Dowell and alumnus Josh Shelton, and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Together they contributed to the master plan of a multipurpose campus including housing, gathering places, food preparation and serving locations, demonstration farm areas, and recreation areas, as well as roadways and infrastructure. In spring 2017, UT students made several visits to Lone Oak Farms where they participated in presentations made by the professional design team. This engagement gave students exposure to a high-level design and master planning process, a unique and valuable experience for students. Additionally, UT students were invited to share their own design projects, impacting both the student learning process and the issues discussed during the master planning process. As the weather warmed, architecture students joined many diverse disciplines in a “bioblitz,” helping to document and catalog the diverse flora and fauna found at the Lone Oaks site.