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Design/Build/Evaluate Initiative (DBEI)


The DBEI is a multi-disciplinary research unit housed within the College of Architecture and Design. Faculty associated with each project and the CoAD Assoc. Dean of Academic Affairs and Research govern the initiative.


College of Architecture and Design, School of Architecture, Depts. of Interior Design and Landscape Architecture: Tricia Stuth, AIA, Assoc. Professor; Robert French, RA, Asst. Professor; Richard Kelso, PE, PhD, Professor Emeritus; Samuel Mortimer, Lecturer; Valerie Friedmann, Lecturer, David Matthews, Professor and Chair, ID; John McRae FAIA, Professor; Avigail Sachs, PhD , Asst Professor; Ted Shelton, FAIA, Assoc. Professor; Scott Wall, Professor and Director, Architecture; James Rose,

AIA, Senior Lecturer; Matt Culver, Lecturer; George Dodds, PhD, Professor and Assoc. Dean of Academic Affairs and Research; Florence Graves, Business Manager

College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Dept. of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science,
John R. Buchanan, PhD, P. E., Dept. of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and Extension Specialist – Wood Products;  Associate Professor; Adam Taylor, PhD, Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Landscape Design, Brad Collett, ASLA, RLA, LEED AP, Asst. Professor and Int. Chair

College of Nursing (CoN), Susan Speraw PhD, RN, Assoc. Professor; Moriah McArthur, Clinical Instructor, Global Disaster

Nursing Program, Mary Nypaver, PhD, RN, Clinical Asst. Professor

College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical, Aeronautical and Biomedical Engineering: W. Miller, PhD, PE, (joint appts. w/ CoAD and ORNL Building Technology Center); Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Richard Bennett, PhD, P.E., Professor; Jennifer Retherford, PhD, P.E., Lecturer

ORNL Building Technology Center: W. Miller, PhD, PE, Tony Gehl, PE and UT Extension: Tim Cross, PhD, Dean


The mission of this initiative is to: design, build, and evaluate works of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture that achieve the highest level of design excellence, environmental performance, and social responsibility; create a mechanism for disciplinary, professional, and industry collaboration essential to sustainable design research and funding; and integrate teams focused on the theorization, simulation, construction, data collection, and dissemination of findings for each built work.


•      to design and build in the most environmentally progressive manner possible

•      to use completed works to measure, test, and evaluate building system performance

•      to assess the quality, experience and demands of living in designed environments as they pertain to health, wellness, and cultural relevanc

•      to disseminate key data to demonstrate the value and impact Design | Build | Evaluate initiatives hold for sustainable design research, public policy reform, experience-based education, and community engagement.


New Norris House, Phase IV: Demonstration, Testing, Evaluation and Dissemination

(4) Co-PI’s: Architecture, COAD: R. French, RA; T. Stuth, AIA; Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, CASNR: J. Buchanan, PhD, P. E., Assoc. Professor; CoAD: R. Kelso, PhD, PE, S. Mortimer, Assoc. AIA, V. Friedmann, Ass. ASLA ; CoE/CoAD/ORNL MABE, W. Miller; ORNL Building Technology Center in-kind support: T.Gehl

Supports: (2) u/grad summer research internships 2011 (2) grad. assts. FY2011-12; (1) Research Project Manager (2) summer grad. students w/ funded activities 02-06/2012; (1) grad. asst.(1).5 Research Project Manager, FY2012–13. NNH is critical to providing the first evidence of measured, building performance following design | build, and essential to demonstrating UTK’s and the DBEI’s capacity for grant-making and development funding to support future design | build | evaluate projects focused on sustainable, high performance buildings and environments and their human impact.

Haiti School (Phase I) and Dormitory (Phase II):

(2) Co-PI’s Architecture and Interior Design: J. McRae, FAIA; D. Matthews, Chair, I.D.; Joleen Darragh, March, Research Editor, CoAD; and collaborators w/ CoN, S. Speraw, PhD, RN, and M. McArthur, MSc.

Design, construction support, and testing/evaluation of the architecture and landscape in connection with a secondary school campus in Fond-des-Blancs. Research on Haiti’s renewed focus on replicable models for decentralization and study of the built environment’s impact on society, health and the environment. Extension of UTK work to global audiences.

Green Oak as a Sustainable Building Material

(2) Co-Pi’s A. Taylor, UT Institute of Agriculture Center for Renewable Carbon and  T. Shelton, CoAD (1) Undergraduate Research Student (Forestry) funded. EPA P3 grant (if awarded) will add R. Bennett, PhD, P.E., Professor; J. Retherford, PhD, P.E., Lecturer, CoE; and T. Cross, PhD, Dean, UT Extension and (1) funded GA (CoAD) to the team. Research investigates the use of white oak cants as a regionally abundant, low-energy structural material. The goal is to develop a viable system for construction and prove it through design|build and testing. US codes do not currently address or permit this material.

Casa de Sara: Pre-design

(2) Co-PI’s R. French , T. Shelton; professional collaborator: C. Piñilla (native Bolivian and Knoxville architect, UTK BArch) Completed: Preliminary design of the architecture and landscape in connection with a primary school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.


Tricia Stuth, AIA
Assoc. Professor, School of Architecture
Phone: 865.974.3238



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