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Freedom by Design winners: From left are architecture students Alex Pasley, Meredith Graves, Matt Barnett, and Thomas Agee.

Students of the UT chapter of Freedom by Design recently won four national awards from the American Institute of Architecture Students, including one for best program.

The organization, which uses students’ architecture and design talents to improve the homes of people in the community, received the awards at AIAS Freedom by Design’s 10th anniversary celebration at the AIAS FORUM, held in Nashville from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2.

In addition to an award for best program, UT architecture students won honors for best mid-level project and most sustainable project for the organization’s 2013 project, the Skeen Residence, a complete remodel of the home of a family with disabilities. They also were lauded for “Best Fundraising” for their efforts to procure materials to complete three projects since the chapter began in 2012. Since the group’s founding, members have also designed and built wheelchair access for the home of a special needs child and constructed decks, stairs, and ramps for an elderly woman.

“These awards show that our program is the best in the nation and that we are successful at every element of the design-build initiative in our community,” said Matt Barnett, a fifth-year architecture student who is director of the student chapter. “We have worked tirelessly over the past three years to construct and lead a team based on core values such as leadership, teaching, design, hard work, passion, and ethics. It is amazing to see what can be accomplished.”

The UT College of Architecture and Design won the bid to host the AIAS FORUM. The conference welcomed 800 students from across the country to the weeklong event and featured lectures, workshops, awards and other learning activities

To read about projects completed by UT Freedom by Design, visit Tennessee Today.


Kiki Roeder (, 865-974-6713)