June 13, 2016
Experienced architect expands firm’s residential, commercial capabilities
After architect Brian Pittman was diagnosed with two types of cancer in 2013, he reflected on a fulfilling 20-year career comprising diverse commercial projects. He also realized he wanted to pursue his passion – designing homes.
“If I had died on the operating table, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I wanted,” Pittman said. “There is nothing like a serious diagnosis to provide perspective and inspiration for what I wanted to do next. The answer was houses, but I wanted to also keep the commercial work I had been doing for more than two decades.”
Today, Pittman’s reflection and professional experience have led him to join Johnson Architecture, Inc., where he will expand the firm’s residential project capacity and provide valuable expertise on commercial projects and historic preservation work.
Prior to joining Johnson, Pittman was a designer at McCarty Holsaple McCarty for 20 years and worked on such prestigious projects as Neyland Stadium Gate 21 and north end zone expansion at the University of Tennessee; Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College; Blount County, Bristol and Art Circle-Crossville public libraries; L&N STEM Academy; Tailor Lofts; Westminster Presbyterian Church; and AAA of East Tennessee headquarters. He also designed several residential projects aside from his firm experience, including the award-winning Weeks House in Louisville, Tennessee.
“The addition of Brian’s talent and experience will help Johnson Architecture further strengthen our design abilities for not only our commercial projects, but also our custom home design experience,” said Daryl Johnson, principal and founder of Johnson Architecture. “His passion for residential projects will enable us to continue serving custom residential clients such as Blackberry Farm, MacAllan Ridge, The Estates at Norton Creek, Tennessee National and others.”
Pittman’s favorite project is the one he lives in – the former Mary Boyce Temple house that he purchased and began restoring in 2006. For six decades, the home was divided into rental properties. Pittman’s work through a process he calls “architecture archaeology” seeks to restore the home as close to its original state as possible.
“I’ve known what to put back into the design because I’ve paid attention to what we’ve had to take out,” Pittman said. “An old house is never finished, and an architect’s work is never done. This project has never been just about us – it’s been about Knoxville. We’ve had such great support from family, friends and the community as we fundraised, renovated and saved such a visible property at the north end of the Henley Bridge.”
Pittman has supplemented every house project through the sale of his cathedral drawings, which are freehand, fictional, fountain pen sketches. No two drawings are the same. Pittman has created over 700 original designs. He sells originals and prints at the Rala boutique on Union Avenue downtown and Liz-Beth & Co. in the Gallery Shopping Center in West Knoxville.
“Every penny from my drawings goes to support the house,” he said. “When I sell two or three pieces, I’m able to finish a door or lay some pavers. Right now, I’m working to finish the chimney pots on the roof.”
Pittman’s house is now known as the Temple-Pittman house, which represents the family who built it and the one that restored it. The four-story brick home and the previously attached “duplex” are the only two freestanding private residences in downtown Knoxville.
About Johnson Architecture Inc.
Founded in 1994 by Daryl Johnson, AIA, Johnson Architecture is a design firm that provides architecture, planning and full in-house interior design services for facilities of all types. Johnson Architecture has designed various sized projects for numerous purposes, including commercial, educational, health care, residential, restaurant, tourism and spiritual. Notable clients include Blackberry Farm, Cornerstone of Recovery, First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, Maryville City Schools, Maryville College, RT Lodge, South College and Zoo Knoxville.