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KNOXVILLE — World-renowned architect Robert Ivy, a fellow in the American Institute of Architects, presented a broad range of ideas Thursday night to members of UT’s Cherokee Farm planning group and other interested stakeholders.

Ivy’s presentation highlighted the unique nature of the Cherokee Farm as a chance for UT to create a signature development.

“The overriding fact that I am left with is that you have before you an extraordinary opportunity,” said Ivy, the editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, the world’s most widely read architectural journal. “It is most unusual for any entity to have such a piece of property in such an untouched state.”

In his presentation, Ivy shared photos and information about other projects around the world — educational and non-educational, research and non-research — that he felt reflected a bold architectural vision in a campus setting.

The talk capped a short visit to Knoxville in which Ivy toured the site and talked with numerous stakeholders both inside and outside the university. He said that environmental sustainability was a theme repeated often during his visit, and he challenged the planning group to take an advanced approach in that regard.

“Don’t fill in the blanks with what needs to be done, but focus on the possibility of what could be done,” said Ivy.

Ivy has worked with other organizations in a similar fashion. For instance, he served as an adviser regarding discussions surrounding design work on the memorial for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Eight major design schemes were proposed for the 9/11 memorial, and Ivy facilitated talks on the selection of the design and firms.

Ivy has extensive knowledge of large-scale planning and the logistics involved, said John McRae, dean of the College of Architecture and Design.

“His help on this project has allowed us to be able to see through his lens and gain from his expertise,” McRae said.

Ivy pointed to an overarching need for the planning group to take a deliberate and thoughtful approach to the planning process.

“The potential for this property is such that it demands the proper time and dialogue to draw fully on its resources,” he said. “I don’t think there is another site or project of this opportunity.”

The Cherokee Farm property includes over 200 acres of land on the west side of Alcoa Highway. The site will be home to a state-of-the-art, technology-oriented research campus and be developed over the next 10 years.

For more information about the Cherokee Farm, visit


Gina Stafford, (865) 974-0741,