Knoxville Sunsphere
Knoxville, TN

Location: Knoxville, TN

Project Architect: Bruce B. Thompson of Community Tectonics

Structural Engineers: Socrates A. Ioannides and Jack H. Horner of Stanley D. Lindsey and Associates

The Sunsphere in Knoxville, Tennessee was built as the theme structure for the 1982 World’s Fair. The project architect was Bruce B. Thompson of Community Tectonics in Knoxville, TN, and the structural engineers were Socrates A. Ioannides and Jack H. Horner of Stanley D. Lindsey and Associates of Nashville, TN.

The Knoxville Sunsphere is a hexagonal steel truss structure 266 feet tall. The top 74 feet are shaped into a gold-glass plate covered sphere. Five floor slabs within the dome utilized STALITE lightweight aggregate concrete. During the World’s Fair, the dome housed observation decks and a restaurant that could be reached via three glass elevators. The observation decks were located on the top and bottom floors to provide excellent views of both the fair site and the surrounding Knoxville and Smoky Mountain areas. The second and third floors contained a restaurant with seats for 260 diners and the fourth floor contained the kitchen for the restaurant and a VIP dining room with seats for 38 diners. Most recently, the Sunsphere has been used as offices for the Knoxville Convention and Tourist Bureau.