Kill the tile, stick with bubble gum

It’s good to see the University of Tennessee renovating the UT Conference Center in downtown Knoxville.

The building has long been an eyesore. But let’s hope the university doesn’t waste money trying to replace the blue-glazed tiles that once covered the facade.

The exposed concrete block, as seen here on Josh Flory’s Property Scope blog, looks better than the tile.


No offense to the preservation advocates at Knox Heritage, but some things aren’t worth saving. The tile is one of the worst looks for a building in the history of the universe. A Knoxville version of “Bubble Gum Alley” in San Luis Obispo, Calif., would be better than the tile.

Depending on how the unversity handles the renovation, the conference center may be dropped from the “Futile 15,” the list of buildings unworthy of preservation. That should be plenty of incentive.