Posts tagged with "Lexington":

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New renderings revealed for SCAPE’s revamp of downtown Lexington, Kentucky

New York–based SCAPE Landscape Architecture has released new images of an urban park in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. The city, working with the Bluegrass Community Foundation, has spearheaded the project which will completely transform one of Lexington's main public spaces. The Town Branch Park is part of the larger Town Branch Commons project—originally featured in The Architect's Newspaper's October 2016 issue—which proposes to uncover Lexington's long-buried Town Branch Creek. By revealing the waterway, the city will gain a new large-scale green space, complete with natural and artificial water features. The park will become a major part of the Town Branch Greenway, which connects existing downtown parks. The downtown portion of the Greenway is also being designed by SCAPE. When complete, the system of bike and pedestrian trails will stretch over 22 miles. “Every great American city has a great park,” said Kate Orff, founder and partner at SCAPE, in a press release. “We are very excited for this park to put Lexington in a competitive environment and further enhance the quality of life. This richly textured, activated park space is going to be a big draw for families and businesses.” SCAPE's initial design for the project was picked in a design competition in 2013. Now that the project is moving forward, SCAPE has amassed a team that includes AECOM, Lord Aeck Sargent, Gresham Smith Partners, Element Design, and Beiderman Redevelopment Ventures.
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Iconic José Oubrerie-designed Miller House hits the market

One of Kentucky’s most iconic homes is now on the market. The Miller House, designed by Le Corbusier protégé José Oubrerie, is listed for $550,000. That price is nearly half of what the home was sold for in 2008, making this a tempting bargain. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the single-family home is noted for the complex way in which the interior spaces interact. Held together in a monolithic concrete frame, the home is comprised of three separate dwellings. This allows for family members to each have their own space while living in the same house. The original clients were an older couple, who wanted a home where their grown children could come and stay. Critics have often cited this as a commentary on the role of architecture in mediating family relationships. The house’s suburban setting seems to only exaggerate this point. Completed in 1991, the Miller House is filled with intricate detailing. Woodwork, steel, and concrete are mixed freely throughout, with bright pops of color being used in surprising ways. Nothing in the house seems typical. Its 5,000 square feet are sliced and divided into rooms, lofted spaces, bridges, balconies, and atria. The nine-square grid plan the house is based on is nearly completely illegible thanks to all of these unconventional meetings of space and material. The house has nothing of the austerity so often associated with modernism, despite its very clear modernist pedigree. José Oubrerie was part of Le Corbusier’s studio in the early 1960s. Since then, he has held numerous faculty and administrative roles at different universities. In the late 1980s, he was dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design. In the 1990s he taught and was chair of the architecture department at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. He has also taught at the New York Institute of Technology, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, the Polytechnic University of Milan, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beux-Arts. Currently he is a visiting professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The listing also includes a virtual tour of the entire house that is well worth checking out.
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SCAPE turns Lexington, Kentucky’s long-buried water into an asset

Most Lexingtonians don’t know it, but the porous limestone landscape under their feet—called karst—created their bluegrass identity. The basic water that flows through karst reportedly makes their grass grow green, their racehorses grow strong, and their bourbon taste smooth. So when downtown Lexington held a competition to revitalize and re-pedestrianize the concrete, car-driven downtown, New York–based SCAPE Landscape Architecture chose to reveal and celebrate its geology. As SCAPE founder and partner Kate Orff said, the Town Branch Commons Corridor project is “a reinterpretation, a transformation of the karst landscape into public space.”

The ambitious project, which just received a major $14.1 million funding boost from the U.S. Department of Transportation, will carve pedestrian and bike paths through the heart of Lexington, creating new green spaces and linking with regional trails at both ends. To create freshwater pools—SCAPE calls them “karst windows,” in reference to similar naturally occurring formations—the design will tap old culverts (essentially large pipes) that previously kept Lexington’s karst water out of sight.

The trail will be narrow in some areas, but wide for the Karst Commons, a new public plaza and park at the project’s northern end that will feature multiple “habitat rooms,” an amphitheater, and recreation areas. The park can flood safely in a deluge. “There’s no site here, it’s a hybrid project,” said Orff. “Sidewalk here, empty lot there, parking lot there… The thread of water means each entity has to somehow come in contact with it and embrace it.”

The road to realizing the project—now in schematic design—has been long. After winning the 2013 competition, SCAPE worked with the University of Kentucky and the Lexington Downtown Development Authority to foster public support. They created a large model of the city’s hidden Town Branch Creek, paired with self-guided podcast tours, that generated excitement and helped propel the project. The karst, citizens realized, was part of the bluegrass identity they hold dear (and market to tourists). “Here it’s all about finding a unique identity framed around a cultural and geological history of a place,” said Gena Wirth, SCAPE design principal. “What’s replicable is the multipurpose infrastructure that unites the city, its story, and its systems.”

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Deborah Berke Partners renovates McKim, Mead & White building into hotel

Lexington, Kentucky’s oldest skyscraper, the 1913 15-story McKim, Mead & White-designed Fayette National Bank Building, has been remodeled into the fifth iteration of the 21c Museum Hotels. 21c’s founders, two Louisville art collectors, spent $43 million converting the former bank into an 88-room boutique hotel. The Louisville-based chain is notable for including contemporary art spaces in its hotels. 21c Lexington includes 7,000 square feet of exhibition area with original art throughout the guest rooms and public spaces.

New York–based Deborah Berke Partners were the design architects for the project, while Pittsburgh-based Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel acted as executive architects. The hotel’s restaurant, Lockbox—a nod to the building’s heritage—includes a 12-person private dining room in the original vault with a functional locking door. 21c’s exhibition space is free and open to the public, with tours offered on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel by Deborah Berke Partners Delayed

Those planning Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel say the $40.5 million project will take longer than expected, but should come sometime in 2015. The growing Louisville-based hotel company bought the historic First National Bank building and an adjacent structure in Lexington's downtown last year, winning city approval for design plans shortly after. Once planned for office tenants, the boutique hotel in Lexington’s downtown apparently sustained more water damage than previously thought. New York–based Deborah Berke Partners has been tapped to design the boutique hotel. The firm also designed 21c Museum Hotels currently operating in Louisville, Cincinnati, and Bentonville, AR. As for its design, 21c CEO Steve Wilson told Kentucky.com:

As in the 21c hotels in Louisville and Cincinnati, the restaurant will be its own entity, with a high profile.

The hotel will not be pretentious, Wilson said: "No gilt mirrors."

Despite the pared-down aesthetic, it will be luxurious, with top-flight service, bedding and amenities; there will be light in all the right places, Wilson said.

There might be polished concrete floors or a chandelier of scissors, he said.

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NBBJ to Overhaul Lexington’s Rupp Arena, Convention Center

NBBJ's Los Angeles office will lead design on renovations to Lexington, KY's Rupp Arena and the city's convention center. With more than 23,000 seats, Rupp is the largest arena designed specifically for basketball in the United States. NBBJ, which will be working in collaboration with Lexington-based EOP, elected renovation over expansion or replacement after studying the 3-year-old arena. Renovation, they concluded, would save the city $215 million in construction costs. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said during a press conference that “the state will play some role” in the renovation projects, but did not say how. The University of Kentucky Wildcats draw large crowds to the downtown arena, as do concerts and other events. Designs for the renovation will be finalized over the next four months, the city said, with work expected to begin in late 2014. Construction will not interfere with the Wildcats’ basketball season. Renovations to the Lexington Convention Center will add 100,000 square feet to the facility, complementing Rupp’s renovation and amounting to a downtown arts and entertainment district. “Together, they will become the commercial, sports and entertainment destination that transforms Lexington,” said NBBJ partner Robert Mankin in a statement. Plans for that district last year included other new developments, including retail and housing, but have not secured financing. SCAPE Landscape Architecture was also selected earlier this year to re-imagine the landscape along Town Branch creek running through the site.
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Marriott, Developer Kill Gang’s Tower of Tubes

When Jeanne Gang was brought on board in April to help reimagine a stalled tower in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, the entire community's spirits were uplifted by the bold collaboration proposed by the Chicago-based architect and MacArthur genius. Studio Gang's design replaced an uninspired high-rise block that destroyed an entire city block before running out of steam, but developer Dudley Webb announced Thursday that Gang will no longer be involved with the mixed-use project. Studio Gang's proposal called for a 30-story tower of bundled tubes anchoring one corner housing a small hotel and residences and an 8-story crystalline office tower on the opposite side. In between, smaller structures to be designed by five local firms were situated around green space and organized with a cellular ground plan. Michael Speaks, Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Kentucky was disappointed by the news that Studio Gang would no longer be involved. "I assumed, like I think a lot of people, Studio Gang had been hired to do the whole thing," he told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "My impression is that Jeanne thought they were going to do the whole project, too." Webb said the bundled tower was among the challenges that wouldn't work for the project. Plans for a boutique hotel fell through, so the developer reverted to original plans for a much larger J.W. Marriott convention hotel. Webb told the Herald-Leader that Marriott will only work with architects who have previously designed convention hotels, a project type Studio Gang hasn't undertaken. Jeanne Gang had expressed interest in working with an architect from Marriott to move the project forward. Now, EOP Architects, one of the five local firms brought on board by Gang to work on the project, will work to redesign the larger hotel and its accompanying 10,000 square foot ballroom and fit it into Studio Gang's master plan. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who was influential in bringing Studio Gang on board in the first place, suggested the city should insist on a design that won't compromise Gang's original vision.
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Stop, Collaborate & Lexington: Studio Gang Reveals New Plans for Stalled Kentucky Site

Developer Dudley Webb of the Webb Companies didn't make any friends when his company razed an entire block of Downtown Lexington, Kentucky for a massive mixed-use tower that ended up stalling in the recession. Now, though, after bringing on Chicago-based Studio Gang to help reimagine the project at the behest of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design Michael Speaks, the community is regaining excitement over new plans to revamp the CentrePointe site. Jeanne Gang, principal at Studio Gang, took to the stage today to present her latest plans for the CentrePointe site and to announce a team of five Lexington-based architects (chosen from a pool of 25 applicants) who will collaborate on the project to offer variety and local character. The selected firms include: David Biagi, ArchitectCSC Design GroupEOP Architects; OMNI Architects; and Ross Tarrant Architects with Pohl Rosa Pohl. The focal point of the design is a 30-story tower of "bundled tubes" housing a hotel, apartments, and condos. The tower is similar to a concept massing model presented in early June, and features patterning reminiscent of traditional horse farm fencing common around Lexington. Gang told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "The benefit of the tubes is you can go inside and on top of them and have public spaces." Renderings show landscaped voids where the vertical tubes are separated as they rise to maximize air flow and sunlight hitting the building. Adjacent to the tower is an 8-story glass shard office building. Connecting the two larger buildings are a series of smaller scale structures to be designed by local architects. Studio Gang studied the topography of Lexington's equine landscape including the sinuous patterns created by fences around horse farms. Initial concept studies showed a cellular network based on these farms informing the site's layout. Gang also hopes for a pedestrian passage running through the center of the site, possibly housing a sculpture park.  
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Studio Gang to Reimagine Stalled Lexington Tower

Studio Gang has been hired to reimagine a stalled mixed-use high-rise in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Having languishing through the recession and without financing, the development called CentrePointe may now gain momentum thanks to the fresh eye of the Chicago-based firm responsible for the much-praised Aqua Tower. Jeanne Gang, principal, told AN her office will be preparing several concept plans over the next six weeks demonstrating new design strategies that could guide the future project and attract new tenants and financing. The proposed $200 million tower has been scaled back since it was first proposed several years ago. Current plans call for a 25-story tower with a mix of residential, commercial, retail, and hotel space. Studio Gang will be presenting several scenarios to keep the mix of uses while better integrating the design into the community and attracting future buyers. "There's a definite urban design component," explained Jeanne Gang. She said Lexington can sometimes feel like a commuter city. "We want to get people out of their cars." Beyond making the city more pedestrian friendly, Gang expects to develop strategies to mediate the varying scales surrounding the full-block site. One side of the block offers two- and three-story historic structures while another features larger office towers. Developers drew the ire of the community by razing the block, which once housed small-scale historic buildings. Now that the damage is done, however, the city and developers hope to move forward with a rejuvenated plan. "The site is literally a tabula rasa," joked Gang. "It's sitting there waiting for something good to happen." Gang visited the site several times in March to evaluate site conditions. Her firm is already familiar with Lexington, however. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Studio Gang proposed a new Lexington city hall and has been retained to develop a master plan for the University of Kentucky's College of Design. "The area has good bones," said Gang. "There are some really nice historic buildings and two colleges nearby. There's also a very active convention center and basketball arena." She has also drawn inspiration from the horse farms and their prototypical wooden fences surrounding the city. For the time being, the CentrePointe site, now covered in bluegrass, is also surrounded by a similar split-rail wooden fence.