About Levi
A New Norris House
About Levi
Arklie Levi Hooten (born February 21, 1987) is an American student of architectural design and theory. He graduated from the University of Tennessee’s College of Architecture + Design in 2010 before spending more than a year completing the construction of A New Norris House as a staff member for the college, doing this under the instruction of architects Tricia Stuth and Robert French. It was as an undergraduate student that Levi and three team members of an independent study secured federal funding to construct a new prototype for sustainable housing in Norris, Tennessee.

Levi also spent a semester in design studio at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany during the spring of 2009.


Arklie Levi Hooten
543 Sycamore Gardens
Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643


CV [pdf]
Work Samples [pdf]

Princeton 1 / Princeton 2
[Campus Urbanism]

Two separate, adjacent projects at the University of Princeton investigate understandings of space and preservation. The former is a debate hall built upon the burnt ruins of historic Clio Hall, creating . The latter is an art gallery for selected works that redefines ambiguous open space into three smaller courtyards while simultaneously strengthening an axis that has existed on the campus since its conception. These projects seek to find new beauty where it is primarily old beauty that defines academic life.

1 [Clio Debate Hall]

Historic Clio Hall has been lost in a fire, burning all but its marble shell. The new program, a debate hall for one of Princeton's prestigious debate societies, overlaps and infiltrates the remaining structure. This allows Clio to maintain its dual symmetry with the adjacent Whig Hall; these two structures reinforce the axis created by Nassau Hall.

A system of structural parallel walls is imposed upon the existing ruins, creating fluid transition between the campus' primary pedestrian artery and the ceremonial lawn opposite Clio Hall. This system, along with a careful deconstruction of the old shell, will allow new volumes to slide and hover, maintaining small measurement between new from old. These volumes house an archive, circulation, a library, a gallery, and an auditorium for debate. The introduction of new forms is subdued by maintaining the scale enforced by adjacent buildings.

Space within the ruins not occupied by the new program will hold a winter garden. The scars created in flame will become covered in time by vines, gravel, and the optimism of spring time. This is to be a place of quiet gathering and reflection, accessed through the original front entrance from a rarely occupied lawn.

Critic: Katherine Ambroziak

2 [A Gallery For Selected Works]

Princeton University has historically been a campus not characterized by its buildings, but rather the negative spaces that those buildings create. However, as the campus has grown, it has moved further from its original core and much of this negative space has become ambiguous. There is a need to redefine the boundaries of these spaces while also recognizing the iconic beginnings of the entire institution - Nassau Hall.

In creating a hard edge with a massive facade, a connection is established between the new campus and the old, and an indefinite outdoor space is transformed into three intimate courtyards. Using the metaphor of morning, day and evening, the courtyards become active spaces that encourage the public life of a campus.

Also given the task of re-presenting the gallery, an elongated, linear structure solves the problem of creating a dynamic interior while still maintaining the value of essential “Princeton” space. The main volume, elevated above the ground, becomes a stately gallery for sculpture that is in turn interrupted by three smaller galleries which allow for the hanging of paintings and other works. These galleries each correlate with a courtyard, animating the life of that courtyard in both metaphor and function.

The final product renders a gallery dynamic in its own right, while still managing to remain definitively quintessential Princeton.

Project Partners - Daniel Luster, Lauren Hurley

Critic: Brian Ambroziak

View PDF of Project
Photographer's Apartment
[Aperture Urbanism]

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson stated once that "there is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment." In the establishment of an apartment for a photographer in Knoxville, Tennessee, several of his photographs were sectioned to begin to understand the separate moments that happen within each of these captures. Bresson's photos establish movement and stasis, geometry, irony, and a clear relationship between the subjects and he who watches.

The location of the apartment is an empty infill site that currently has created a void in the dense urban fabric of North Knoxville. The facade becomes the lens for which the photographer and the pedestrian begin to activate a relationship, much as Bresson achieves with his photographs. Composed of operable panels and glass, the facade transforms, sliding up and down as individual panels rotate to create aperture; this sequence is dependent on the function of the photographer's establishment, both signaling the accessibility of the street level galleries and framing two juxtaposed gazes between the public and private nature of street and of structure.

The galleries become a void within a parallel space, terminated only by glazing and the shifting paneling, allowing a connection to be realized from the street to an under-utilized exterior space at the rear of the site. The apartment exists as an adjacent slot through the space, creating visual connections between private and public. Moments such as these establish a new set of "decisive moments," creating depth and opposition in constructed planes which would normally exist two separate urban life and the seclusion of the artist.

Critic: Robert French

View Project Drawings

View Project Drawings as PDF
USS Undine Museum
[Battle for the Redoubt]

High on a hill in west Tennessee, earth is shaped in a way that once fortified the position of soldiers during the American Civil War. This redoubt overlooks the Kentucky lake, a body of water where the Civil War gun ship USS Undine has remained in a watery tomb for more than a century. An independent organization by the name of Raise the Gunboats intends to raise the vessel, allowing for it a setting where it may be shared with the public and saved from the decay of time. A proposed museum that situates itself on this site on New Johnsonville, Tennessee means to provide a place of permanence for the vessel while reinforcing existing metaphors deeply embedded within the landscape.

The new program separates itself into two massings - they are defined as resistance and extension. On approach to the museum, the visitor follows a foot path in which he or she is confronted by the first of these two structures. A dormitory for visiting researchers acts an inaccessible information citadel, keeping watchful eyes over traffic approaching the redoubt. The visitor slides beneath its quiet mass and moves up the hill. As the climb continues, the visitor approaches an axis with a structure that is positioned at the far west corner of the redoubt; this is the office of the curator who quietly sees with great vantage all that takes place on the site.

The remaining program houses the museum galleries and boat room and imbeds itself in the slope of the hill as to become the literal extension of the redoubt. The visitor moves from the redoubt onto the roof of the museum, finding a magnificent view of Kentucky Lake before descending to the space where the vessel has been inhumed. The entire space has been opened to the North to allow indirect light to illuminate the hull of the once lost Undine in order to protect it from further structural damage.

The composition of the museum will allow materials to create a dialogue of not just permanence but also transformation - transient volumes of steel are placed within a concrete framework so that they may be reconstructed over the course of time. The exterior of the museum finds symbolism in the vessel that it protects: bells define the footpaths, scuppers shed water from the structure's many roof gardens, and spotlighting illuminates the site during the night, providing not a beacon but rather the phenomena that the visitor is constantly being watched between the trees.

View All Drawings

Site: New Johnsonville, Tennessee

Critic: Ted Shelton
Bauhaus Museum
[Faceless Voids]

The Bauhaus, the iconic school of the modern movement, deserves space that recalls the consequences and effects of its academic establishments by means of metaphor. The given site is complicated. Situated between an extremely preserved city and an even more protected english park, the new museum must satisfy many different ideas. Also, existing buildings on the site must be kept, or thoroughly justified for removal. The new Bauhaus Museum will play to all of these forces.

An existing lecture hall currently sits on the site. It has no connection with the english park and has created several lacking urban spaces. Also, as a university service building, it does not fit in so well with the existing structures resting within the park. The new Museum will not keep this structure, but it will not completely remove its presence. The museum will reuse this structure to create a new composition-enter the metaphor.

The existing “L” shaped lecture hall will be stripped down to only what is essential-the underlying brick that supports it and encloses it. The new Museum will then enclose this piece, allowing it to become VOID within a new SOLID. And finally the old brick will become layered with a new brick, essentially “defacing” the structure much as the modern movement once sought to do with all of architecture. Ironically, the execution of this transformation will only tie the old structure into the new structure in the most meaningful of ways. Also, as a consequence, a new, clean entry sequence is created within the whole sequence of the exhibition of works. One wing of the new found void will become an [1]urban courtyard which will connect the entry with a rediscovered [2]urban square. The other wing will be infilled with a central stair, connecting the sequence will all exhibition spaces.

In turn, the urban square becomes activated by the physical connection of the museum to two surrounding structures. Both of these connections are made underground, under the urban square. An archive, a new cafe, and the new museum will all share the auditorium piece of the museum program. Each one of these elements support the movement of the urban space, in turn making connections to the park, to the city, and to the new Museum. Finally, the Museum has a minimalist attitude toward the Park der Ilm. The eastern edge of the structure pushed slightly further into the park, reinforcing the idea of enclosure in this specific area of the park. Then a minimal facade which highlights the structure of the new Museum opens up in specific locations to allow views to the park, to connect from inside-out. Also, the Liszt Garden is re-connected to the Ilm Park, allowing the new Museum to reinforce the connection with its edge. The new museum rests in subtle manner with the existing sequence of the park.

View Competition Boards

Site: Weimar, Germany

Academic Program: iAAD Bauhaus Weimar Germany

Critic: Karl-Heinz Schmitz
Hale County Ceramics School
[Broken Machines]

tags: monitor, re(press)ion

The fields are organic as the whole, and of the their own nature, and of the work that is poured into them: the spring, the garden, the out-buildings, are organic to the house itself.

- James Agee, 1936

This project began with the Panopticon, the powerful poetry of isolation, and a personal connection with the region of Appalachia. Through the extraction of an artistic conscience, the project became the study of site, poverty, and the creation of an architecture based on the Literature of James Agee and the photography of Walker Evans during the Depression Era.

A new magnet school for Hale County, Alabama begins to deconstruct the machine typology of contemporary institutions while allowing Agee and Evans to become the co-authors of a new hypothetical architecture. For it was on this site that these two journalists once lived with tenant farmers, settling in as "cold-laboring spy's" and in turn sharing both the desolate beauty and agonizing pain of this place with the rest of the nation. Primarily, the project investigates the idea of the 'gaze' as a way of defining constructed space for students to further understand a physical and cultural setting.

Advisor: Brian Ambroziak
A New Norris House
In 2009, we set out to define a new way of thinking about sustainable housing in East Tennessee. A team of us created the New Norris House project based on the concept of an integrated global mind set (social + environmental) that centered itself at a local scale (reinterpretation of the paradigm created by the TVA in Norris, Tennessee). This idea, which we called UPLOAD, was likely most influenced by the extraordinary amount of time we spent online as students and by our aspirations to create something subtle and beautiful. We entered the EPA's P3 competition in Washington DC, walking away as one of six winners nationally, a federal grant to continue into Phase II of our proposal, and the ambition that our ideas were going have an enormously positive effect on the region's future development.

The project culminated into the most extensive design build project ever taken on by the University of Tennessee, requiring the synergy of several different departments and many consultants. Today, construction has been completed and the house currently enters its 4th phase - the evaluation and monitoring of the home. It serves as an educational tool both to the University and the community at large.

Site: Norris, Tennessee

Project Advisors - Tricia Stuth, Robert French

Team Members - Samuel Mortimer, Matt Lyle, Daniel Luster, Joan Monaco, Katherine Dike

Project Website

British legal philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham introduced to society a new visual argument for behavioral manipulation in 1789. The Panopticon, a new typology for prison design, became a precedent for modern ideas of surveillance. It was only years after Bentham publications that philosopher Michael Foucault brought light to Bentham design and related writings as a comparison to the way modern societies control the general behavior of the public. Foucault calls the Panopticon a piece of political technology. It increased power and reduced space.

Contemporary film and communication technology have allowed those who seek power to take the concept which can be found in Bentham prison and become increasingly more transparent while using less and less space. Currently,

Contemporary Big Brother control methods blow away physical architecture. Camp X-ray, at Guantánamo, began as open cells, divided only by wire mesh, covered by sun shade sails, which gave complete day and night surveillance with floodlights. Modern versions of masks designed by Ludwig Friedrich yon Froriep (1846), which rob a prisoner of sight, hearing and the ability to speak, were to be seen worn by the prisoners, along with fluorescent uniforms, which marked them as easy targets, in the few photographs available to the world media. With wrist and ankle manacles a person can be immobilized, without architecture.

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Bentham's social manipulation transcended not only defined space in modern surveillance, but also its original program. His prison sought to control those who had already been punished. Modern surveillance is used currently for monitoring the preemptive public at unprecedented levels. In the city of London, there is an estimated one camera for every 14 citizens. One great separation between Bentham's original plan and current monitoring methods is the ability of proximity. In his book Zoomccape, Michael Schwarter discusses at length the ability for the camera to transcend the ordinary physical limitations of the being. People can now understand spaces with easy acquirement even though these are spaces that could never be understood as a first-hand experience. This gives the person the greater tools to understand landscapes differently. The same can be said for the cameras ability to understand the actions of people. While Bentham's design greatly reduced the need for space, contemporary technology has almost eliminated the need for space completely. Social control has far transcended the walls of prisons. It has become almost undetectable.

In his book, Foucault went on to say that "visibility is a trap." In Bentham's prison, the prisoner is able to be seen but cannot see the one who observes him. The effectiveness of the design is executed with the ability to see and not be seen. This, while a seemingly accepted truth, is actually a myth. While the person who observes cannot be seen by those he watches,

he is monitored and controlled with equal degree by his own conscience. Maybe Foucault realized this and found the irony within the design. Artists Yoko Ono and John Lennon created a film in 1968 that finds the reflective nature of monitoring. The film, titled "Rape" is the story of a girl who is violently pursued by the camera—the presumed predator. After 70 minutes of watching the chase of an attractive young girl and witnessing her sad demise, Jonas Mekas states that two things are interesting to watch: one is the girl and the other is the audience. The "self-conscience and hence uncomfortable complicity" of the sequence allows the viewer to realize that surveillance does not only change the behavior of the one who is being watched but the behavior of those who witness as well. Visibility is indeed a trap.

Much of modernism dealt with transparency and utopian ideas of the connection through the production of glass. The idea of Surveillance has been made possible through the means of glass production. Diller and Scofidio claim that “transparent glass is no longer invisible. Rather it is a display surface that modifies behavior on both sides. Again, the one who views is not unsusceptible to consequence.

While then surveillance will always have ideas of structuralism rooted within its use, there could be other approaches to surveillance. There is the possibility of thinking about surveillance as record or archive. French photographer and anarchist

Henri Cartier-Bresson used surveillance as a means of understanding. History is typically written through interpretation. It is therefore subject to the biases of the writer. Surveillance provides a raw approach to recording. Sarah Hermanson states that photojournalism is the act of documenting "a particular event, place, or person." While Bresson was extremely successful from an artistic standpoint alone, his ability to perceive things exactly as they happened will provide better evidence of the times over manipulated recitals of what the subject thought might have happened.


Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne, and Peter Weibel, eds. CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother. MIT Press, 2001.

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1977.

Hermanson, Sarah. "Henri Cartier-Bresson." MoMa 3, no. 6 (September 2000): 31-32. http://www.jstor.org (accessed September 14, 2009).

Liu, Catherine. "A brief genealogy of privacy: 'CTRL [space]: rhetorics of surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother'. Grey room (Spring 2004): 102-118. Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCOhost (accessed September 12, 2009).

Schwarzer, Mitchell. Zoomscape: architecture in motion and media. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004.

Chicago Manuel Citation Guide


001 - Presidio Modelo (model prison), Isla de la Juventud, Cuba. SRC

For some mountain people, this to just became a tradition. Every spring you redid the walls and ceilings with fresh newspaper.

-Shelby Lee Adams

In the twenty-first century, as it has been for a hundred years, the region continues to be laden with mythology, subjected to recurring debate, and held up as one of America's enduring social and economic problems. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, novelists, educators, and big-city journalists created a dominant image of the central Appalachians as a hinterland populated by backward people left behind, more or less suspended in time as the rest of America modernized and prospered.

-Encyclopedia of Appalachia

The photographs of Shelby Lee Adams captured a truly profound image. It is easy to be distracted by the personalities of the Napier Family in the photo as Appalachian people can seem so estranged to those who have never engaged with that type of people. The rugged family sits in a living room in the typical portrait style in which Adams recorded so many rural families with. However, it is not the personalities in the foreground that make the photograph so interesting. In the background, one notices that the walls are covered in Newspaper. What is actually a common practice in the area is quite ironic. Appalachia has isolated itself from its surrounding environments so

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much that the greatest role of mass media toward Appalachia has been to understand its people. However, the people of Appalachia have continually succeeded in separating themselves from the mass media altogether. As the Napier's sit in their living room at night in conversation, they have surrounded themselves completely with one of history’s greatest tools of communication.

It is the same mass media that has continuously failed to correctly perceive the region. In some instances, mountain folk were romanticized as thoroughly noble pioneers, in others ridiculed as inbred, violent, and barely civilized, but in any case socially and physically isolated from the rest of America and different from other Americans. Perception and Appalachian people has been a problem since mass media became a factor. Media have always attempted to captivate the general public with interesting perspectives of Appalachian culture, whether they be true or false. This has been a problem for decades. English historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, critically wrote in 1947, the Appalachian mountain people today are no better than barbarians. They have relapsed into illiteracy and witchcraft. They suffer from poverty, squalor and ill health. They are the American counterparts of the latter day White barbarians of the Old World Rifis, Albanians, Kurds, Pathans and Hairy Ainus; but, whereas these latter are belated survivals of an ancient barbarism, the Appalachians present the melancholy spectacle of a people who have acquired civilization and then lost it.

The cultural misunderstanding has caused the people of deep Appalachia to repress the culture contained outside of the mountainous regions. The threshold between inside (Appalachia) and outside becomes more easily perceived as the culture outside of the region continues to evolve into a more global society while the people  within attempt to preserve the way they choose to live. Both sides are contributing to the mass isolation within. The threshold becomes a communication barrier.

The inability for people to keep up with the outside world has also had economic The sad stories of former coal mining communities and the logging industries paint a sublime, empty picture of life in Appalachia affected by the attempt to keep up with modern economies.

The region remains a place of stunning natural and cultural extremes, though in the latter third of the twentieth century, it moved closer to the nation’s social and economic mainstream. Like the rest of the country, Appalachia was transformed by modern technologies, albeit in ways that were often contradictory, and in certain ways painful, unwelcome, and even destructive….communities became ghost towns…local retailers failed and Main Streets declined as franchises and outsized chain stores sprang up along bypass roads and highway interchanges in county seats across rural Appalachia. The absent industries of Appalachia have left physical scarring of the landscape.

There has been a great deal of research on the topic of social isolation. Generally it relates to the scale of only one person. Doctors and scientist continually diagnose and analyze those who choose to separate themselves from others as a sickness. The story of a child who has been born into a severely isolated situation tells the tragic story of isolation at the scale of the person. Genie, the infamous feral child was socially and experientially isolated from other people. She has never been able to develop social skills and cannot communicate as her situation was not uncovered until the age of 13. Because her isolation happened in her developmental stage, she can never truly recover.

The region of Appalachia has also suffered from its lack of communication. However, the region of Appalachia has not been retarded by its developmental life. It is only in the last century that it has suffered from the absence of communication. Communication, as it is with the scale of the person, could help to heal isolation at the scale of the community and the region. The most advanced cultures on earth are those that have an ability to communicate. The threshold that separates the region of Appalachia from surrounding, global cultures could be transformed to increase communication to the region rather than prevent it. It is just as difficult for the people who view Appalachia on television and internet sources from their living rooms to understand the isolated inside as it is for those people who are on the inside to understand the periphery


Abramson, Rudy, and Jean Haskell. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville, TN: The UP of Tennessee, 2006.

Adams, Shelby Lee. Homepage. (March 2007.) http://shelby-lee-adams.blogspot.com/(accessed September 12, 2009).

Curtiss, Susan, Victoria Fromkin, Stephen Krashen, David Rigler, and Marilyn Rigler. "The Linguistic Development of Genie." Language 50, no. 3 (1974): 528-554. http://www.jstor.org (accessed September 14, 2009).


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clio debate hall
Bells and watchful eyes make known the presense of the visitor on a vastly forrested hill in West Tennessee as a new structure reclaims both fortified earth and a decaying vessle from the Civil War Era
First Iteration
site plan
east elevation
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