Chattanooga architecture firm Cogent Studio currently has at least a dozen projects in the works, and each one provides an opportunity to create a lasting imprint on the community.
"One of the unique things about Chattanooga is the opportunity that it affords us," partner Thomas Palmer said last week during an interview with the firm's team of eight. "It's an opportunity for us to shape our community. We are often left in the position of making really impactful decisions ... Our care and level of concern for community, city and client lets us shepherd the process in a way that becomes impactful for everyone."
Cogent became what it is today after Palmer Built Environments and Cogent Studio merged in 2015, when leaders said the union would bring complementary services to Chattanooga.
- Thomas Palmer, partner
- Trey Wheeler, partner
- Jason Ennis, designer
- Aaron Cole, designer
- Jared Hueter, designer
- Michael Prater, designer
- Brandi Hill, architect
- Dawn Snyder, architect
The company's team is focused both on making clients happy and creating work that leaves a positive, lasting mark on the Chattanooga landscape.
They know that the work they are doing now might outlast their current clients, so it's important to have one eye on the present and another on the future, thinking about how the project will continue to participate in the public realm, leaders said.
"Our focus is multifaceted, but one of the primary pieces is to leave the built environment better than it was before we started," partner Trey Wheeler said.
Each team member has a unique and varied background, which is another element of what makes the firm thrive, leaders said.
Designer Aaron Cole worked in architecture prior to joining Cogent, but before that, he did organic farming.
Designer Michael Prater previously worked at The Howard School in a drafting program, through which he and students built houses.
Architect Brandi Hill worked at GreenSpaces as the director of the Better Built program, which focused on providing residential buildings a blueprint and standards for environmentally responsible, high-performance homes at a low cost.
Designer Jared Hueter spent about four years working in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans in the nonprofit world to assist in rebuilding efforts. He also worked for three years as the dean of design at the Priestley Charter High School of Architecture and Construction.
Designer Jason Ennis lived and worked in Yosemite National Park, and architect Dawn Snyder works with the American Institute of Architects and has a special interest in educational and medical environments. For example, to better understand functionality of an operating room, she's dressed in scrubs and observed the action there, she said.
"I love the fact that we all come from different backgrounds and have different opinions and different experiences with different types of communities," Palmer said. "I don't think the work would be as interesting or as well-done [otherwise]."
The firm's work includes projects in Nashville for restaurateurs Mike and Taylor Monen, as well as a Signal Mountain residence.
The studio also recently completed liquor store Imbibe and a Main Street Meats renovation.
Pruett’s Signal Mountain Market
This project will be under construction soon. The owner wants to improve the grocery store with additions such as a growler station, sushi chef and revamped deli. He also wants to make it more of a gathering space by adding an outdoor patio and eating area, which could include a fire pit and outdoor kitchen.
The 2,800-square-foot space will also get a front entry renovation.
202 Frazier restaurant
This project is still in the design phase and more information will be available later, but it will bring to life a new restaurant in the 6,500-square-foot space that used to be Chattanooga diner Northside Lunch.
City Homes on Market
This 1435 Market St. project involves two townhomes, each 2,700 square feet.
The project will have street-front living, home office spaces, covered parking, elevators and roof decks.
Completion is expected in late summer.
14th Street Corridor
This corridor is about 550 square linear feet of 14th Street from Market Street to Rossville Avenue. The corridor runs between the Chattanooga Choo-Choo and Terminal Brewhouse.
The design focus is on ways to reduce vehicular traffic and activate the area for pedestrians. It features permeable pavers throughout and a narrow roadway with curbless sidewalks, which should help reduce vehicle speed.
It should be complete this summer.
UTC Caleb Isbester House
Cogent is working on the exterior restoration of this building, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
It currently serves as UTC offices, and the university acquired the 1896 Victorian Queen Anne-style house in 2011.
The house has undergone several minor renovations in the past, and Cogent Studio is working "diligently to preserve and restore as many of the house's century-old details as possible."
Dwell Hotel renovation
This 14,000-square-foot project is a renovation of 16 hotel rooms, a restaurant and bar formerly known as Stone Fort Inn and TerraMae Appalachian Bistro.
The project is expected to be fully complete next month.
Currently under construction, this 7,500-square-foot project is inside the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
The Cogent team has restored the existing windows and exposed the riveted steel beams and columns.
The attraction will house rare vintage guitars. The collection will rotate and can feature 185 guitars at a time.
The Cogent team said that dark wood and steel casework have been custom designed to add a rock 'n' roll vibe to the space. There will be a main gallery and lounge, both of which are designed to double as small performance areas.
Patrons will also be able to play some of the guitars.
East by Main Townhouses
This project includes 21 three-story townhouses that are 935 square feet per unit.
Each townhouse includes a roof terrace that looks out over the Southside. There are also community green spaces and on-site parking.
Construction starts soon.
Updated @ 8:40 a.m. on 5/10/16.