Interpreting The Idea

Craig Peavy in The Co-Op- a complex of office lofts he is developing.

Craig Peavy in The Co-Op- a complex of office lofts he is developing.

From an edgy translucent rock-climbing wall to the city’s newest boutique hotel, the designs of Craig Peavy and his colleagues in the architectural, building and structural design professions are on a path to give Chattanooga a fresh aesthetic in the second decade of a new century.

The architect grew up in lower Alabama, studied architecture at Auburn University, and attended the acclaimed Rural Studio where he studied under architect Samuel Mockbee. He joined Lord Aech Sargent in Atlanta, a significant architecture and design firm working with institutional clients, including 130 colleges and universities across the nation. The experience gave him a chance to do some large-scale projects.

Ten years ago he moved to Chattanooga with his wife Ellen, a professional hotelier with Vision Hospitality and their young daughters.

Barely five years ago, Chattanooga’s beefed up sports and festival scene had caused the demand for accommodations to skyrocket. Its growing startup community required housing, too. New hotels and condominiums began springing up. And, the repurposing of existing underused buildings created unusual opportunities for startup companies and unique design challenges for architects. PV Design, Craig Peavy’s firm, has been deeply involved.

The newly redesigned home of Jax Liquor.

The newly redesigned home of Jax Liquor.

After completing a series of hotel and condominium projects, Peavy is experiencing a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

“There have been so many times when there could have been roadblocks, but every time, the roadblocks became opportunities,” says Peavy. “I’m thankful.” Some of the Chattanooga projects have been especially challenging. “Clients know what they need, but they are looking for
creative interpretations.”

A few years ago, Peavy worked with Blythe Bailey and Taylor Bowers on The Block, a large-scale adaptive reuse project only steps away from the Tennessee Aquarium. They transformed the old Bijou Theater into an urban centerpiece that included a climbing gym, fitness center, retail space and coffee bar. The designers spent quite a bit of time in a materials testing lab to come up with the blue-tinted polymer material that eventually was used to form the exterior wall.

In a recent revamp of Jax Liquor store, a long-time establishment on Market Street, the new owners, Four Friends, LLC, were looking for something distinctive for their high-profile location. These clients were very progressive and allowed Peavy to explore contemporary options. “They were just really open to creative ideas,” he says. “They wanted something fresh and they were great to work with.”

The Co-Op in the Innovation District.

The Co-Op in the Innovation District.

Soon a new five story 84-unit apartment complex, called 10 Cherokee, will add more housing on Cherokee Boulevard. PV Design has worked with Vision Hospitality, to plan the $10 million structure, one of their more than 30 properties nationwide. The complex is adjacent to Renaissance Park and will offer studio, one and two-bedroom rentals. But, the crown jewel of Vision properties may be The Edwin, a boutique hotel directly across from The Hunter Museum of American Art on Walnut Street. This idea is the brainchild of Vision Founder, Mitch Patel, who spent countless hours researching boutique hotels in other cities.

“Mitch is phenomenal,” says Peavy. “Pardon the pun, but he’s a visionary.”

The Edwin is a 90-room luxury boutique hotel that accesses some of Chattanooga’s most beautiful and sweeping views. Designed and branded to include exceptional restaurants, exciting retail and an extraordinary rooftop bar, Peavy says, “The project has been amazing.”

Peavy’s own endeavor to repurpose and develop additional office lofts in the Innovation District is The Co-Op. The name is a nod to the original owners, Cooper Office Supply, and references the collaborative nature of this mixed use project in the innovation district. PV Design is located on the second and third floors and shares space with Matt Sears, founder of Haskel Sears Design, a frequent co-collaborator.

Brad Shelton working on a project for a new nonprofit.

Brad Shelton working on a project for a new nonprofit.

Future projects for PV Design include a Huntsville, Alabama project in the Village of Providence, a Seaside-inspired small town reproduction and a master plan for the City of Ft. Payne, including defining the historic district.

For an architect in the middle of his career, Peavy is going strong, infusing a fresh new look in downtown Chattanooga. He credits the work of local architects working in the Southside with inspiring him.

“Their broad brushwork on Main Street really moves me.”

Photos courtsey of PV Design


About Author

Debbie is the retired Editor of Chattanooga Magazine, and ongoing contributor.

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