The design for Augusta Quarry enhances safety and access to the lake while highlighting the rich history, incredible scale, and dramatic views for the secluded limestone quarry.


Augusta Quarry

Knoxville, TN
Originally a 1000’ high hill topped by a Union Civil War fort, Augusta Quarry was excavated for limestone during the first half of the 20th century. By the 1970s, the quarry closed and the water pumping ceased. Without the removal of water, the quarry filled and a 200’ deep lake formed. This lake is currently used by some local residents as an informal swimming and water sport venue.  PORT and Sanders Pace Architecture were commissioned to design and enhance the safety and access to the lake. This work included the formalization of these activities through the introduction of a boardwalk, swimming beach, get-downs, overlooks, food kiosks and kayak/boat rentals, in addition to public parking and improved access to the water. The site’s rich history, incredible scale, and dramatic views inform the priorities of PORT’s design approach.
Architect: Sanders Pace Architecture
MEP: Cannon & Cannon, FSC 
Structural Engineer: Fe Design & Engineering
Civil Engineer: Vaughn & Melton
Landscape Planning + Design
Landscape Architecture

Community Engagement

An interactive exhibit — including a large-scale site plan and numerous feedback stations — was held to identify community priorities and to provide feedback to the design team.

Existing Conditions

The quarry ramp program prioritizes safety and accessibility, allowing improved access to the quarry edge and the water.

Upper Ramp + Overlook

The design specifies proper edge setbacks and protection, as well as accessible parking, paths, ramps, rooms and comfort stations.
The design undertakes the ecological challenges on site — mainly the proliferation of invasive plant species — through habitat management and new planting.
Phase 1 – including the entry road, entry signage, entry gate, parking lot, bike racks, light poles, and planting — was completed in Fall of 2019.

The new design for Augusta Quarry goes beyond mere preservation of the site and showcases the profound character of the quarry today.

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