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Best of the South Awards 2023 Project 2

As part of The Best of the South (BOTS) Preserving Southern Excellence Award for 2023, the committee has elected to award the Redwood House / Clauss Haus II project with a “Special Commendation” award, which was presented at the Southeastern Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians’ (SESAH) Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas in September.

The Clausses’ masterplan for their modernist development carefully organized 10 International Style houses along the ridge of Brown’s Mountain, similar yet varied – all privileging views to The Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest and the Cumberland Mountains to the north-east. Any subsequent houses built in the enclave were required, by deed, to be designed “in the modern style”. Alfred from Austria, left Mies van der Rohe’s office in 1930 after completing his work on the Barcelona Pavilion and Jane West having just left the office of Le Corbusier’s atelier in 1934 with her work on the design of the Swiss Dormitory, they both embarked on this most unique housing development in a most unexpected location. Only half of the original ten houses were completed (and are extant) before the Clausses left for Philadelphia to continue their careers. Yet, it is likely that this is the first realized enclave of International Style houses in the United States, pre-dating Koch, Jackson, and Kennedy’s Cemento Development in Belmont, Massachusetts (1942).

The Clauss Haus II project was a notable for its efforts at preserving modern heritage (approximately 80 years old) and returning a structure that had been subject to unsympathetic renovations over the years to nearly its original form. The renovations were exquisitely undertaken, and despite the fact it is a private residence, the committee felt that it could have a strong impact on understanding the need and issue with preserving our modern architectural heritage.

Project Information for the Redwood House / Clauss Hauss II

Original construction: 1941
Owner: John L. Sanders, FAIA
Architect: John L. Sanders, FAIA, Michael Aktalay, Assoc. AIA, and Madison Butler (Sanders Pace Architecture, Knoxville, TN)
General Contractor: Jeffery Epperson (Fuhrig Design + Construction, Knoxville, TN)

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