Red Chair Architects Formed by Cockrill Design & Planning and Community Tectonics

Knoxville-based firms unite to create dynamic new Tennessee design practice.

Red_Chair_Architects_LogoKnoxville-based Cockrill Design & Planning and Community Tectonics announced the merger of their firms to form Red Chair Architects.

The new firm begins as one of the largest and most comprehensive design practices in the region. Both firms have been recognized for excellence in design and planning during their combined 90 years of practice throughout Middle and East Tennessee.

According to David Cockrill, former CEO of Cockrill Design & Planning and now CEO of Red Chair Architects, “Our merger has made us deeper and stronger in the talent and service we offer going forward. We currently are experiencing, I believe, a permanent change in the design profession, and we are being strategically proactive in answering that challenge.

“Don Shell and I sat down more than a year ago and began to discover that we had a lot more in common than we had differences,” Cockrill said. “Our firms shared similar cultures and values. We had complementary skill sets, markets and investments in technology, and considering we had competed head-to-head for years, we had a mutual respect for each other. We’ve become good friends through the process.”

Don Shell, former CEO of Community Tectonics and now chairman of Red Chair Architects, agreed.
“We are very excited about what we have put together and what we can accomplish together,” Shell said. “It just made good sense. Our combined experience and talent make us more competitive and efficient, which we are counting on to make us more profitable as well.”

“We immediately embraced the idea of an icon – the red chair – as a comfortable place of real distinction for our clients as we explore each one’s unique design needs,” said Cockrill. “It symbolizes our focus on the person for whom we design and plan, bringing smart, unique ideas that enrich the experience for each.”

“It’s to convey our sincere mission: ‘great design in friendship with our clients,'” Shell said.

With the merger, Red Chair Architects is well-positioned with a collective depth of award-winning experience in the education design sector while expanding the new firm’s capabilities through a shared portfolio in such areas as healthcare, civic, commercial and planning projects.

Both prior firms were particularly well-established in the pre-K-12 school design and planning market. Cockrill Design & Planning held considerable healthcare and higher education expertise while Community Tectonics held extensive religious and higher education facility design capabilities. Community Tectonics also provided in-house engineering, which will continue under Red Chair Architects. Both firms provided planning, interior and graphic design services.

Community Tectonics was a 61-year-old firm with a long history in the Middle and East Tennessee design community. Principals Don Shell and Bill Vinson, president of Red Chair Architects, began their successful careers with Community Tectonics and will continue in prominent roles with Red Chair Architects.

Cockrill Design & Planning, originally founded as King & Johnson in 1984, had a successful 10-year tenure under its ownership by David Cockrill and business partner Margaret Backhurst, who will serve as Red Chair Architects’ director of design.

Red Chair Architects owns offices in Knoxville’s downtown and on Pellissippi Parkway and will initially consolidate operations at 10651 Coward Mill Road off Pellissippi Parkway, with a near-term goal of returning to Downtown Knoxville.

Click here to watch the announcement video.

Source: Mary Beth West Consulting, LLC | Red Chair Architects
Image: Red Chair Architects