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Logan Miller /// Nov. 20, 2020 /// Portfolio Vol. 1

Small Courtyard (New)

Stanchion is a live/work institution situated in an under-utilized lot in the heart of downtown Knoxville, TN. The sprawling urban setting has lead to a rise in corporate business, as well as a higher average cost of living. This project seeks to fill the void of local businesses in the downtown area, as well as to provide a cheaper housing alternative for families, couples, and individuals. 

The architecture utilizes the premium site, located directly off of Gay street, by allocating the store fronts for a variety of home-grown businesses. Stanchion promotes the live/work environment by reducing the cost of living if the business owner also lives in the complex. This concept increases the amount by which local businesses can grow through high-end real estate, as well as lowering the cost of living for those small business owners. This focus on promoting local shops is due to the studies that have shown over the course of the past 20 years that local businesses have seen a 250% growth when located in downtown Knoxville, as opposed to being located outside of the urban center. 

Three types of housing and business plans have been developed in order to accommodate the different styles of stores and residents that the architecture is meant to attract. These targets being larger businesses that are linked to two-story apartments for a family, a reduced size store and apartment for couples, as well as individual units developed for university students or single residents. Although the amount of available apartments is limited, Stanchion is a step in the right direction in order to promote graduating students from the local University of Tennessee to stay in town, rather than looking for a job elsewhere.  


The site that the Stanchion live/work complex would be built on is currently a parking lot (as of December, 2020) adjacent to the 14-story TVA building. Unfortunately, the TVA building blocks what could be a wonderful view from the back of the apartments into market square.   

The design begins by flattening the sloped site and placing a structural concrete plinth. Simple concrete bearing walls are used as both structural elements and visual boundaries between each of the apartment and business zones. A rudimentary design intended to provide the highest standard of living for the residents, as well as an accessible store front for the urban population. 


1st Floor Plan (Dark)

Ground Floor Plan

2nd Floor Plan (Dark)

Second Floor Plan (Plinth Level)

Section Perspective (Dark)

Longitudinal Section

Stanchion is developed around a centralized courtyard that is designed for social mingling as well as being the nexus for the overall circulation of the building. A service ramp is located on the back end of the architecture that connects the business floor, parking/loading dock, and the courtyard. An accessible ramp between all three major levels makes it easy for businesses to unload and transport inventory to and from their shops, on both the ground floor and the elevated plinth level. The allocated space for the ramp allows for the inclusion of a natural light well, provide daylight to many of the spaces below which would normally be completely enclosed. 

Two mirrored bridges span the gap above the courtyard, allowing the top floor of single-story apartments to be suited for individuals, while not be directly connected to the two-story resident spaces below. The bridges are wide enough to provide an alternate space to relax, acting as a unique vantage point, for example, when films are projected onto the main bearing wall in the courtyard. 

The entire building is separated by a thick 1' horizontal concrete plinth. The waffle slab structure allows up-lights and HVAC ducts to be situated within the ceiling of each space without appearing obtrusive. Located above the plinth is a series of concrete panels that are systematically placed in order to optimize drainage for the courtyard. 


2D Back Unit Wall Section (dark)

Longitudinal Detailed Section (Looking North)

Axon Section Pers.

Perspective Section (Looking Southwest)

The architecture supports three types of residents: families, couples, and individuals. The sections above detail a two-story family unit, as well as an individual unit on the top floor. Developing a multi-story apartment unit will attract a broader scope of businesses that would be interested in participating in the live/work environment. 


Each unit has a fully functional kitchen as well as a full bathroom, with the larger apartments supporting multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. The HVAC equipment for both the residences and the business is located on the roof, sized accordingly, and allowing for an easy transition between owners due to how Stanchion is sectioned into rows between each of the major bearing walls. 

The bridge on the top floor, as well as the light-well gap on the courtyard level, provides a barrier between the units and the outdoor social space. This creates a visual distinction between public and private, as well as implementing a secondary shared balcony space for all of the units. 


Main Courtyard (New_Grayscale)

Courtyard Perspective (Process)

Main Courtyard (New)

Courtyard Perspective 

Stanchion Physical Model

Physical Model 

Stanchion is a dynamic architectural concept that supports the development of local businesses and home-grown entrepreneurs. The prime real-estate along Gay street, as well as the close proximity to market square, is able to provide an unparalleled potential for the growth of small companies. 


An interior courtyard provides a secluded realm in the midst of a bustling urban scene, invoking a sense of home for the residents. The simple gridded structure easily allows for different types of business owners and residents to move in and out of the units with ease. Stanchion is envisioned as a staple of the next phase of downtown Knoxville, while still conforming with the historical datum of Gay street. 

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