Tennessee Modernism: Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle by Margaret Pinkston

Structure: Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Architect: Margaret Pinkston
Date: 1967
Tidbit: Margaret Pinkston was not your ordinary architect. For starters, she was maybe one of the smartest minds in Knoxville. She studied at the International Correspondence School in Scranton, PA, and graduated with four diplomas (one was in architecture, one was in interior design). When she came to Knoxville, Albert Baumann (of Baumann & Baumann) encouraged her to pursue a career as an architect. She eventually wound up working at the Knoxville firm Morton & Sweetser.

Margaret Pinkston (right) discusses her design for a house (below) with the home’s owner

It was during this time at Morton & Sweetser that Pinkston designed a church for a 150 member congregation of baptists who worshipped out in East Knoxville. Pinkston was a member at the church, so it was natural that the pastor of the church (Dr. Bob Bevington) asked her to design something that was “conservative modern.”

Her design still stands, proudly featuring a 1,000-person sanctuary (sporting a unique v-shaped sloping roof), breeze blocks, and myriad of stained glass.

I will say, the shape of the sanctuary’s roof reminds me of another Knoxville church (pictured below) whose architect is currently unknown.

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