A New Norris House: Phase IV

Live-In Evaluation and Monitoring of a design/build effort

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    Meet the residents

    By newnorrishouse
    Oct 14, '11 11:53 AM EST

    Greetings from the New Norris House residents! We’ll be living in the house for the next year, and want to introduce ourselves to you.

    Who we are ---
    Ken McCown and Mary Leverance, married for two years. We moved to downtown Knoxville almost a year and a half ago, and to the New Norris House this summer. Ken will contribute photos for our blog entries, and I’ll do most of the writing.


    What we do ---
    Ken is Chair of the Landscape Architecture Program in the College of Architecture + Design at UT Knoxville. He has a Master’s of Architecture and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    I’m a graduate student in the School of Information Sciences at UT Knoxville, where I take classes in the evenings through the school’s Distance Education program. I have Bachelor of Science in Geography from Arizona State University. I currently telecommute part-time to a job based in Phoenix, AZ.

    Where we’re from ---
    Ken and I met while living in Tempe, AZ. While in Tempe, Ken was an associate professor in the School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University, and I worked full-time in the GIS/mapping division of a commercial real estate company. Ken has lived in Virginia, New York, Kentucky, Illinois, Florida, California, and Arizona—for a total of 32 different residences (!). I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Arizona, and California.

    Why we’re here ---
    Our schedules and backgrounds fit with the ideas of sustainability and efficiency behind the house. The Norris Dam was constructed in the 1930s to generate power for the new community of Norris. My energy use for telecommuting and taking classes from home demonstrates that living in a modern and efficient way is still possible, 75 years from the town’s beginning. And, because I don’t have an architecture or design background, I’ll provide a different perspective on the house’s design and functionality.

    Ken has lived in and maintained a university property before. While in California, he was an assistant professor at Cal Poly Pomona and the director of the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL Research House II in Silver Lake, CA. He gave tours, maintained the property, and raised revenue for care and preservation of the house. Ken's background, along with his interests in sustainability, urban design, and historic preservation will give a design perspective on the Norris House.

    Miscellaneous ---
    On the weekends, we’re reading, watching college football and The Amazing Race, or taking walks in the Norris Lake area. We both enjoy traveling as well.

    We’re looking forward to our time in the New Norris House, and will be sharing our experiences here on a weekly basis. See you next week.

    (Visit the project website at

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About this Blog

The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.

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