Governor’s Chair for Energy + Urbanism

Academia, Science and Design for Our Urban Future

The Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments (Energy + Urbanism) is a $2.5 million partnership of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the 澳门六合彩开奖结果 to investigate innovations and next-generation technologies for healthy communities and smart cities.




Led by Phil Enquist, SOM’s partner for urban design and planning, the partnership had an early success with AMIE (additive manufacturing integrated energy), a revolutionary energy-harvesting system designed and built by the partnership’s team of students, faculty, design professionals and science researchers. Students in James Rose’s Governor’s Chair Studio contributed to AMIE’s design and continue to push the boundaries of using new technologies.

Participating in the development of the AMIE prototype and previous projects related to net-zero design affords our students an unparalleled opportunity to work with the foremost professionals in design and engineering on projects of international significance. Exposing students to the collaborative environment and technological innovations of projects like these prepares them for shaping the future of the built environment.


Tennessee River

In the innovative Tennessee River Studio led by Asst. Prof. Brad Collett, Landscape Architecture and Architecture students are investigating the 21st Century challenges of the Tennessee River and how responsible urban planning can protect the water we call ours.

Students have talked face-to-face with people who influence or are influenced by the river, including farmers, boat captains, dam operators, city planners and many others. Their design proposals address impacts on the river and the Knoxville waterfront development, and they are building a Google Trek Tennessee River and researching a Tennessee River Trail. By partnering with professionals at Tennessee Valley Authority, among others, students gain real-world preparation for successful careers.

This studio was supported by the Governor’s Chair program through 2017 and will continue to investigate the challenges to the Tennessee River for the benefit of us all.


Timber Tower

The Timber Tower Studio, led by Architecture Professor Ted Shelton, worked with SOM鈥檚 Benton Johnson to propose a 12-story residential timber tower in Nashville. Louisiana Pacific and the Nashville Civic Design Center are partners in the studio.

Over the last several years, Johnson has developed and tested a structural system of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels and glulam members capable of exceeding 40 stories in height. Timber structural systems hold the promise of creating buildings with much lower energy profiles than those constructed with typical methods.

This initiative, which was supported by the Governor’s Chair program through 2017, will continue to investigate the use of timber in high-rise structures.


The future of the Governor’s Chair is one of expanding investigations into

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Energy use
  • Urban development
  • City planning

as academia, science and design continue to impact the world.


The Governor’s Chair is a place of convening to investigate solutions to our urban problems, and we need the educators at the university and the students’ energy behind that to pursue ideas.

Phil Enquist, Governor's Chair


Phil Enquist, Governor’s Chair

In 2014, Phil Enquist, consulting partner at聽, was named the sixteenth UT-聽Governor鈥檚 Chair. SOM is one of the world鈥檚 leading urban planning, architecture and engineering firms.