The Lodge at Fall Creek Falls, Spencer, TN, 2021 Citation Award

The Lodge at Fall Creek Falls was recognized with an AIA Middle Tennessee 2021 Citation Award. The AIA Design Awards Program strives to recognize, publicize, and celebrate projects that represent the best of Middle Tennessee architecture; projects that are exemplary for their thoughtful, sustainable, innovative, and well-crafted design. With juries composed of highly-qualified professionals offering diverse perspectives and expertise, all submissions are reviewed in the context of the project team’s goals and evaluated for thoughtfully designed resolution of those goals.

Jury Comment:
The park lodge’s common areas successfully focus on the beautiful surrounding Tennessee landscape, supported by a strong, sensitive master plan following the bluff.

Serving one of the state’s most visited parks, the two-and-one-half-story replacement lodge features a modern interpretation of rustic elements that draws inspiration from the beauty of Tennessee’s natural landscape. The site is master planned to accommodate the new lodge and support functions, while reclaiming the maximum amount of the existing site for amenity greenspaces and designating separate circulation paths for lodge guests, park visitors, hikers / bikers and vehicles. Located between the building’s two main wings, a large fire pit creates a shared gathering space that also divides guest rooms from public areas.

Oriented for views of the surrounding lake and landscape, the lodge contains 85 guest rooms with private balconies, including three king suites and six family-style bunk rooms. Additional amenities include a banquet room, outdoor pool and a 180-seat restaurant and bar. Designed with park guests’ needs in mind, guest rooms incorporate materials that are associated with camping and the outdoors, while interior spaces feature textures and color palettes that blur the line between the lodge and landscape.

Utilization of green design principles and durable, low maintenance materials promotes sustainability and conservation. Exterior cladding mimics the shadowy coloration of a forest and is accented with light wood siding resembling sapwood bark. Incorporating the use of solar shading, sustainable materials, reduced water usage and habitat-restoring landscaping, the lodge is designed to meet the State of Tennessee’s High Performance Building Requirements and is intended to function 19% more efficiently than energy code requirements.

A jury of AIA Westchester Hudson Valley members judged the entries. Projects are entered under six categories: small, large, healthcare design, interiors, residential, or unbuilt. The jury was encouraged to recognize and acknowledge exceptional design in the categories of Citation, Merit, and Honor, with Honor being the highest award.