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Ted Shelton, FAIA
Ted Shelton, FAIA

Ted Shelton and Tricia Stuth, associate professors of architecture in UT’s College of Architecture and Design, continued their research this summer—both internationally and nationally—in the investigation of historical preservation and design.

Shelton and Stuth, a husband-and-wife team who joined the college in 2004, conducted research as Affiliated Fellows of the American Academy in Rome during the first part of summer. The Affiliated Fellowship was established in 2010 and enables a UT faculty member to spend six weeks in residence at the American Academy to pursue research in arts and humanities.

The experience allowed them to explore their ideas of the “unseen site.”

“We have long held that the histories, ideas, and cultural practices of a place must be merged with one’s understanding of the physical site to create an augmented landscape in which architecture is practiced,” said Shelton. “We call this hybrid space of design the unseen site.”

Tricia Stuth, AIA
Tricia Stuth, AIA

In Rome, they examined the Testaccio district’s ancient origins and long history as a marginal district. They also examined its recent incarnation as an emergent and desirable district.

During their stay, the couple created “Seven Provocations,” speculative designs in which the relationship between preservation and design is one of conspiracy rather than opposition.

“We believe preservation theory not only occurs after design but also influences the design of artifacts that actively shape heritage,” Stuth said.

The couple also was chosen to serve as the 2016 Virginia Design Medalists, an honor initiated by Virginia-based Hanbury, a design firm with offices in four states that pursues planning, architecture, and interior design across the United States and abroad.

The Design Medalists program was established to “nurture and stimulate design talent by recognizing distinguished members of architecture, planning, and design academia and inviting them to engage with [its] staff for several weeks,” states the Hanbury website.

In late summer, Shelton and Stuth served as critics of the firm’s work and presented lectures that initiated discussions on practice specifically as it relates to the planning, design, and stewardship of the contemporary academic campus.

“We lectured and exhibited our findings from Rome and further informed those findings through critical engagement with exceptional practitioners,” Shelton said.

Shelton and Stuth are the first collaborative team to be named Virginia Design Medalists in the thirteen-year history of the program.

“The experiences in Rome and Virginia are influencing the educational experiences of our students this semester in Knoxville in our work with Lenoir City, UT’s 2016 Smart Communities Initiative partner,” Stuth said. “Through this program, our students are developing design proposals to cultivate stewardship and the next evolution of the city’s downtown.”


Amanda F. Johnson (865-974-6401,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,