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Screen Shot 2020 09 08 At 9.41.35 Pm

Structure: TVA Operations Office Building
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Architect: Vincent G. Kling
Date: 1965
Tidbit: In 1965, the TVA had a problem: their offices were scattered throughout 18 offices in Downtown Chattanooga, not exactly an efficient use of space. Progressive Architecture said the scattered TVA buildings “resemble[d] the organization of items in a woman’s purse.” ?


To simplify their footprint, the TVA commissioned architect Vincent G. Kling to design them new operations office. The 540,000 square foot building would have been perched on the banks of the Tennessee River, just below the Chickamauga Dam. The serpentine-style of the building was meant to reflect the winding nature of the river it set beside.


Although the beautifully designed building’s planning stage got a feature in Progressive Architecture (April 1965), the structure never left said planning stage and was not built.

15 years after Kling’s proposal, the TVA would end up building new offices for its operations. The buildings (pictured below) were located in downtown Chattanooga (versus overlooking the river) and the design was considerably less inspired than the one Kling originally proposed.

The TVA’s current office buildings in downtown Chattanooga

You can see the archival footage from its 1982 opening here.

  • Kenneth Moffett
    Kenneth Moffett
    November 18, 2020

    The Kling project is a new one on me. He was a creditable but not significantly talented designer. The identities of the roster of architects involved in the Chattanooga buildings would probably be happiest left in the mists of time. The big concept was tracking mirrors on the roof that cast sunbeams straight down through the atrium to canted mirrors, which would then send sunlight out to the open office area ceilings at a miniscule angle to achieve daylighting throughout. I believe the whole thing stopped working, not unexpectedly, rather soon.


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