Loghaven Artist Residency
In the heart of Knoxville's Battlefield Loop, a historic 600-acre woodland that overlooks the Tennessee River, this project has rehabilitated six log cabins dating to the 1930s. The cabins are now better suited as residences for visiting artists, and the campus is supported by a new Gateway Building and two purpose-built studio spaces for visual and performing artists. This project is also the first critical step of a plan to protect the region's most important but threatened historical, cultural, and natural assets.
The existing cabins on the site were built by Martha "Myssie" Thompson as rental homes for her family and mimicked the Depression-era’s Civilian Conservation Corps cabins. Until the mid-2000s, when the neglected property was targeted for large-scale development, Loghaven regularly attracted an eclectic group of creative visitors. As property values fell during the height of the Great Recession, the Aslan Foundation purchased the community in order to preserve and enhance the cabins and the land surrounding them. Years of collaboration, research, and coordination between the foundation and the design team shaped the rehabilitation project and ecological plans.
Significant deterred maintenance and haphazard additions made it clear to the team that the 80-year-old cabins could not last much longer.
Significant deferred maintenance and haphazard additions made it clear to the team that the 80-year-old cabins could not last much longer. After stabilizing each cabin, the team carefully retained the original character while modernizing them to better serve artists. The new construction complements the character of the cabins but reinterprets their scale and materiality in new ways. The new and old buildings are connected by existing roads and pathways and a new trail system that winds through the forest and woodlands.
The Gateway Building was the first new construction on the site, and it functions as Loghaven's operations center. Housing a gallery, a director's office, a commercial kitchen run by a local chef, and a multidisciplinary studio, the building is tucked into an existing stand of hardwoods. A new caretaker residence and one of the original cabins sit adjacent to it.
Though designed with privacy in mind, both studios feature panoramic windows that offer sweeping views of the landscape and the Smoky Mountains beyond.
A short walk from the Gateway Building, the companion studios feature flexible workspaces that accommodate visual and performing artists. Though designed with privacy in mind, both studios feature panoramic windows that offer sweeping views of the landscape and the Smoky Mountains beyond.
Throughout the design process, the team gathered stories from former residents, neighbors, and friends about their experiences at Loghaven. Those stories of positive impact were developed into an exhibition, the first to be displayed in the Gateway Building's gallery.