Tennessee Architect, Rand Soellner, is the Senior Staff Architect of the HOME ARCHITECTS ®. He and his firm recently applied for and were accepted as a registered architectural firm in the great state of Tennessee. They primarily practice custom residential architecture, however Soellner has been the Architect of Record on notable commercial projects as well.
The firm expects to be designing custom residential projects for Tennessee Clients. Some of their Clients come from other states, then decide to move to Tennessee. Sevierville, Tennessee seems to be a hot spot for custom houses designed by mountain firms like this Architect. Tennessee, like some of the special places where this firm designs its own unique brand of mountain residences, has mountainous topography.
This particular residential architect firm happens to serve the entire United States, in addition to Tennessee. They also happen to be headquartered in Cashiers, NC. They currently have Clients in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida. Firm owner, Rand Soellner, ArCH, NCARB, LHI, M.A. Arch, says: “We have been designing custom residential architecture across the USA for decades.”
Soellner and his firm are excited about designing architecture in Tennessee: “Although we’ve got some experience in the Sevierville, Tennessee area now, we are certainly interested in working with Clients in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and other locations throughout this beautiful state.” His firm has specialized experience in designing projects on the sloping, rocky terrain found throughout substantial portions of Tennessee, especially in the eastern area.
Here is an example of this architectural firm’s understanding of the unique geologic history of Tennessee, from Rand Soellner:
“Geologists have indicated that the reasons for the rumpled, mountainous topography has to do with major events taking place on our planet about 310 to 245 million years ago: the North American tectonic plate smashed into the African tectonic plate, creating a massive super-continent called Pangaea (although there weren’t any humans around then to know that).
As the rocky crusts of the planet ground together, pushing up mountain ranges, other changes occurred to the then largely sedimentary rocks (which were initially the deposits of ancient seas in the area). They were subjected to the enormous pressures of continents colliding, changing them, as they were crunched, heated and essentially welded together. Thus, some of the sandstone became metasandstone and quartzite and shale became slate. During this mountain-building era, while the continents were pushing into each other, the African plate’s pressure shoved rock layers toward the northwest in the Tennessee vicinity, some of these older rock strata were shoved hundreds of miles from their original locations (toward the northwest). Some faults were the results of ancient earthquakes. At one time, it is theorized that the Tennessee mountains were as tall as the Rocky Mountains (which are much younger). However, wind, rain, snow and ice have taken their toll over the hundreds of millions of years since then, eroding them to the softly rounded shapes we see today. And no, glaciers did not intrude this far south, so none of the valleys were shaped by those thick ice sheets from Canada. However, the freezing weather caused by the glaciers to the north did have an influence on the Tennessee mountain ecology, causing further erosion of pinnacles and cracking and falling of taller rocky precipices.”
It is with this specialized knowledge that this Tennessee residential architect firm knows how to secure foundations to the bedrock, to prevent undue movement of houses and other structures it designs.
“I’ve seen where people from flatland states have tried to design on mountains. Bad things happen. Foundations move, if they are not properly secured, frost heaves footings, and I have seen houses moving down mountains, like a big toboggan. If you don’t know what you’re doing, and aren’t a licensed Architect, you really shouldn’t be designing houses or anything else in this area. ”
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