Marble Hall, Knoxville, Tenn.
During the design process, the team realized much of the structure and character of Marble Hall needed to be restored and preserved. The no-longer-watertight cupola, which remains accessible, was repaired. The stained-glass window and Tennessee marble were restored, and much of the four-by structural tongue-and-groove wood ceiling needed to be replaced and refinished. All wood elements were treated with a marine-grade sealer to stand up to its now exterior environment.
Multiple new elements used to assist the transition from enclosed structure to open-air, multipurpose pavilion included new precast wall caps that matched the original stone color and healed the areas where walls had to be removed. Large fans draw air through the space, minimizing the need for extensive mechanical systems. Simple, modern lighting replaced dated pendants, and stage fixtures and linear ceiling wash fixtures were added to the faux bulkhead that was created at the new openings to highlight the structure.
FANS: Big Ass Fans
Marble Hall—constructed in 1958 as a chapel for the Eastern State Psychiatric Hospital, later renamed Lakeshore Mental Health Institute—is one of the few remaining buildings on the property from that era. Following the closure of the institute in 2012, the state of Tennessee conveyed the property to the city of Knoxville for recreational purposes.
Johnson Architecture’s design opened the 3,367-square-foot former chapel while preserving its frame and enhancing its architectural elements amid the landscape.
Among the key design elements:
- The classic architectural identity remained intact while part of the skin was peeled away to allow the public to experience its simple elegance.
- Existing Tennessee marble cladding remained, as well as the structural glue-laminated wooden frame and ceiling and the intricate rose window.
- New restrooms carved from existing space support the multipurpose area.
- The new, 1,265-square-foot Marble Hall Pavilion was designed on axis with the existing chapel and features a material palette reflective of its counterpart: Tennessee marble columns, simple steel frame and triumphal arch to denote its entry.
Lakeshore Park draws thousands of visitors each year to experience its rolling hills, river and mountain views, and historic overlooks. It serves as a showcase for Knoxville’s public recreation opportunities. The renovation of Marble Hall and addition of the Marble Hall Pavilion enhance the park’s sense of place then and now.
The Marble Hall project has earned a merit award from the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, an Award of Distinction from the East Tennessee Historical Society, an East Tennessee Preservation Award from Knox Heritage and an Orchid Award from Keep Knoxville Beautiful.