Ben Wathen

Ben Wathen

Knoxville, TN, US



I am a recent architect graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  


Currently, I am working under Ted Shelton as a research assistant. Professor Shelton has been given a large grant from PlanET to visualize Knoxville 30 years from now. The job entails large scale urban planning, focusing heavily on how we can alter Knoxville’s perception of public space, especially as a means to counteract urban sprawl. This involved a complete rethinking
of several regions in and around Knoxville to accommodate higher density living and more efficient public transit. The research also delves into the impact of the interstate system on the development of the city and its ecological systems, with Knoxville as the test case. The proposal includes removing part of the highway to relink disjointed communities and improve the overall
area health. We will be publishing these findings very soon and entering the design into competition next year.


I recently finished my thesis project “The Vestiges of the Sacred”. The project utilized an abandoned railway tunnel between Windsor and Detroit creating a sacral procession while maintaining an identity as a greenway of sorts. The structure attempted to induce a sacred quality without compromising a needed function, a pedestrian path between two cities. The project was a finalist in the Tau Sigma Delta competition and will be part of the college’s accreditation this coming year.


My thesis work exposed many of my architectural ambitions and values. I attempted to create meaningful space by tying cultural importance with tangible need and immediacy. The exploration resulted in elevating quality over quantity and although it did become fantastical at times, I always tried to relate it back to the people it would influence. After this rigorous exercise, I desire to work in the world searching for meaningful architectural dialogue in real projects. I would like to become licensed and eventually return to school to study architectural theory in the next five years.



The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, US, Research Assistant

The main project was part of a larger re-envisioning of Knoxville. Over the summer, we redesigned large tracts of city to accommodate future growth on a 30 year plan.

My roles included master planner, graphic designer, researcher, and 3D modelling for pre-photoshop renderings. I gave presentations, wrote extensively on the subject for the work at hand, and helped formulate the argument and overall designs.

May 2013 - current

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, US, woodshop supervisor

I opened and closed the shop, oversaw equipment usage, demonstrated proper technique, and maintained the tools.

Aug 2011 - May 2013


The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, US, BArch, Architecture and design | Professional program

Aug 2008 - May 2013


EUreka campus wide competion, 1st Place

excellent in design for a specific project- Knoxville Planetarium


Faculty award for academic excellence, 1st Place

exceptional overall body of work at UT