Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg, TN, as seen from the Parkway
By-pass looking south toward
the Great Smokey Moutains

I recently became visitor 7,600,000-ish to the Great Smoky Mountains over the first week in November of 2015. There are approximately 9,000,000 visitors to the park each year which makes it the most visited National Park in the country, nearly twice as many as any other park in the country. My trip took me to Gatlinburg, TN, considered the “Gateway” to the Great Smoky Mountains.

I recently found myself traveling along the route I use to walk to school as a young boy every day. I grew up in the city of Manchester during the ’60s and ’70s at a time in which the city was going through many changes. The downtown, which was once the thriving retail and economic hub of the state, was going through a time of “urban renewal.” The once bustling downtown was then for the most part abandoned as the growth of strip malls, food services, and entertainment venues continued along the outskirts of the city.

Let’s face it, architecture is a profession built around people with money. Most people look at architects as an expensive indulgence. Many of us have provided our services to people and or organizations that typically might not be able to afford our services as a result of our own altruistic instincts. It’s part of human nature to help those who can’t help themselves. There is one architect that comes to mind that embodies this basic human instinct and has been my architectural hero for many years. His name: Samuel (Sambo) Mockbee.

The Grand Basin

The Grand Basin

Summertime and vacations are traditionally a great time to read a good book. With time on our hands, a book is a great escape. I read a book recently which I think many of you may be familiar with or have read already: The Devil in the White City, Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that changed America by Erik Larson. Don’t worry, this is not a book review, I will leave that up to you. The story and the way Larson was able to weave two distinctly disparate stories was in itself entertaining, but what fascinated me most was the story of the architects.

With the summer fast approaching, what better way to celebrate than a good “auld-fashioned” road trip! That’s right, road trip. I have been doing a lot of reading over that past year during my travels back and forth between New Hampshire and South Carolina and a lot of that reading has been focused around the Civil War. I am not sure what my fascination about that period in American History is all about, but one of the most prolific American architects had a similar one. In 1938, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a southern plantation for C.

That’s the AIA’s national public relation and advertising campaign that launched back in December of 2014. The goal is to raise the public profile of the architect’s contribution to the built environment. At Grassroots this year, Robert Ivy, CEO of the AIA, asked attendees if they had seen the recent ads for the Look Up campaign on TV. To be honest, I had not seen an ad for this campaign until after the conference, and even then it didn’t make much of an impression on me.