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We’re stepping outside the mid-century modern period to detail two really unique houses designed by TVA architects. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta live on the edge, you know?

Speaking of living on the edge…

Structure: Marvin Johnston residence
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Architect: Marvin Johnston
Date: 1985
Tidbit: In the mid 1980s, there existed a small, triangular lot sat on the edge of the Holston River, a lot that was generally considered unbuildable.


A TVA architect named Marvin Johnston spotted the parcel, fell in love with the parcel and, after negotiation with the land’s owner for a year, purchased the land.

Bucking the conventional wisdom, Johnston designed a 2.5 story house, situating it at a bend in the river so his family could observe both the sunrise and the sunset. In 1985, when the house was completed, it won an award of excellence from the Tennessee Society of Architects.

Speaking of award winning…

Structure: Thomas Worden residence
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Architect: Thomas Worden
Date: 1979
Tidbit: Another TVA architect, Thomas Worden, designed himself a house on a hill. Since it was up on a hill, he dubbed it the “Hill House”. It too won won an award of excellence from the Tennessee Society of Architects. The house sold recently so instead of just old newspaper scans, we have color photos, have a look.

Since we’ve mentioned the Tennessee Society of Architects a few times, here’s a fun fact about them. In the 1980s, that organization opened a bookstore in Nashville (on Sixth Ave). The building has since been demolished.


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